Archive for August, 2010

Guinness, Bearer of Rings.

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Guinness sleeping soundly after a tough day on the job as the couple’s ring bearer.  That’s a good boy! xo

Outdoor events in the Pacific Northwest: do you have a ‘Plan B?”

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Above is a picture of one of our awesome cellists, Heather, at a beautiful outdoor wedding in the Columbia River Gorge, where the scenery is absolutely stunning.

Unfortunately, the ambience of said wedding was totally ruined for all by fast winds and  100-degree heat.  The wind blew our music off the stands, in spite of all of the measures we took to secure it.  Several times, the stands almost blew over completely, and blew our bows off of our instruments, causing us to have to stop playing during the processional of the wedding party!  Eventually, Heather found some big rocks off to the side of where we were playing, which she hauled over, so we could secure everything further.  Still, a stressful situation all around.

While outdoor weddings in the summer are ubiquitous and usually lovely,  there are several factors that some coordinators, clients, and a frightening number of vendors do not consider, like the following:

Do you have a “Plan B” for inclement weather?

It is amazing to me how many outdoor events we have played in the late summer where clients do not have a backup plan if it rains (or is 100 degrees, with fierce winds).  Come on, people!  Its the Pacific Northwest – in August!  It could rain at any time, OR it could be ridiculously hot.   Do you really want your guests to sit and drown/burn in an uncovered area?  I doubt it.  But I have seen it time and time again, where guests and vendors alike are all crammed like sardines under a big tree, ducking out of rainstorms…or Aunt Edna and Uncle Fred have both fainted from having to sit in the intense, 100-degree sun.  Tell me, who is really concentrating on the wedding and the couple in these conditions?

At this wedding, there was no outlet for amplification, so with the wind blowing so hard, nobody could hear the officiant except for the couple.  This may have been ok, if there was not a lot of audience interaction planned into the ceremony, with readings, and the like.  The candle lighting was a total bust, but did (thank god) provide some comic relief for the wedding party and audience.  Most of the beautiful flower arrangements had their petals blown off, and some flowers on stands blew over.  As the officiant went on with whatever he was saying for nearly 30 minutes, the guests were all baking in the intense sun, or being blown about by the wind.  Not one of them looked like they were paying any attention.  I thought to myself, “all of this preparation, and for what?”  It was visually beautiful, but I could tell the bride and groom were also distracted.  Later, the bride told me she didn’t remember anything but worrying about her dress being blown off.  That’s so sad!

In the end, this couple sacrificed a few things for a spectacular view of the Gorge.   I have played at this venue every August for years and have come to expect this!  So I’ve decided that this will be the last year that I will agree to play outdoors there.  It is a shame, as it could all be prevented.  The moral of the story is: when planning your outdoor wedding in the great Northwest, it is important to have a ‘Plan B’ in case of severe weather!  Hopefully your venue has a space where you could move things indoors.  If not, consider having large enough canopies to fit everyone under, or at least put the guests in a shaded area.  If this is not a possibility,  provide parasols and umbrellas for people.  It is thoughtful and will help to keep everyone’s attention on the wedding, not on the weather.

Northwest Neighborhood House benefit at the Duck Ridge Farms Estate

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Last week, after a long string of beautiful weddings, we were thrilled to perform at a garden party benefiting the Northwest Neighborhood House. The event was held at the stunning Duck Ridge Farms Estate, a sprawling 85-acre estate gardens in the West Hills of Portland.  The Estate is listed in the Smithsonian Institution’s Archive of American Gardens!  I have not seen anything quite like it in Portland.   Donors and guests experienced a lovely evening of delicious food prepared by Chef David Barber of  Hillsdale’s Three Square Grill.

Vancouver Symphony Concertmaster (and MCP Violinist and Librarian!) Eva Richey and I played violin duets for a couple of hours. Everyone was so nice!  All the NH employees (special thanks to Tia!) doted on us and made sure we were comfortable and well taken care of!   We were enchanted by the gardens, and by the lovely donors who came by to tell us stories of their own musical upbringing and experience.  We got to meet a lot of really amazing people, have great conversation, and sample some incredible local food and wine.

But the Star of the night was the ever-amazing Neighborhood House! Their broad array of programs help families succeed by reducing hunger and homelessness.  NH supports more than 12,000 low-income and other vulnerable children, families, and seniors through innovative programs, such as Headstart and Early Headstart, Senior Centers, Rental/Energy Assistance, Parenting Programs, Mentoring program: SUN Schools, CASASTART, and transitional housing assistance.

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