..... music for occasions.....


The Secret Gift

My very first conversation with Robert went something like this:
"Hello, do you teach piano and voice?"
"Yes, about half of my students work on that combination."
"Can you keep a secret ?"
"Hmm, maybe you could explain a bit about this?"
"I'm getting married in nine months and I want to sing and play piano for my new bride at the wedding in front all of my guests."
"I'm not sure where the 'secret' is here."
"Well, the thing is, none of my guests—including my fiancée—know that I play or sing, and I would need you to train me in complete secrecy.  Can you do that for me?"
"I've never been asked to do this before, but sure, I can do this.  And when is the wedding?"
"In nine months."

And that's exactly what I did with Robert until his wedding day—I coached him in total secrecy and he managed to work out all of his practicing at times when no one would hear him.  When he brought in the sheet music to the song he was going to sing at the reception, "It's True Love" by David Gray, he said, "You know, I also want to make a studio recording of the song with myself on piano and singing, plus electric bass, and give copies to all of my guests."  I replied, "Isn't there also a synthesizer on the original?" and then he said, "Ah, but I'd rather hear a rich string quartet behind everything.  Can you make an arrangement that really fits the song?"  "An excellent idea, it would be a pleasure, Robert."

I suggested that we wait for several months of vocal training before committing to a specific key for his song.  In the meantime, we built a solid foundation for both his piano playing and voice so that he could put those skills together comfortably for not only his performance, but also his recording.

Fast forward to Robert's wedding reception in the main ballroom of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.  After I played an hour of solo piano I took a microphone to speak to his guests.  "Can I have your attention please.  Robert has a special gift for his new bride."  The room became very still as he escorted his new bride to a chair next to the piano and said into the microphone, "Sweetheart, this song is for you."  That was the cue to open the curtain, revealing a string quartet and electric bassist.  I counted off the tempo and slipped into my chair where I had a perfect view of the bride.  Needless to say she became teary-eyed, as did many of the guests during that moment in time...