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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

February 3, 2012

Bridal chit-chat (11)

evelyn @ 9:38 pm

‘Please stand to greet the bride’, said the priest. The congregation surged to its feet, heads turning towards the back of the church. To the left of the altar (it wasn’t my own church) I started cheerfully playing ‘Here comes the bride’. And nothing happened.

Unless you are in a church with an enormously long aisle, the well-known ‘Bridal March’ from Wagner’s Löhengrin is usually more than enough to get bride, father and even the biggest cluster of bridesmaids into position. In fact, some processions whizz up so fast that you have a problem bringing the music to a credible close. But on this occasion I played it right through and out the other side, and the bride hadn’t moved.

She was certainly there – I could see the white dress at the far end of the church. So could the priest, who decided to go down and investigate. I watched him conferring with the bride and her father, as I brought Wagner round for the second time, but now playing softly and warily. Best to treat it as an interlude, I thought, until we know whether a Jane Eyre situation (‘He already has a mad wife in the garret!’) is developing. By this time the congregation had turned through fully 180 degrees and were gawping. Groom and best man looked nonplussed.

Afterwards, I was told that the bride had burst into tears and declared she couldn’t go through with it. However, persuasion was brought to bear, and eventually the priest led the procession up the aisle. I pulled out a few more stops and everything proceeded as normal.

Two thoughts remained with me after this episode. First, that I should always have something in reserve should Wagner not prove sufficient. As it happened, not long afterwards ‘Here comes the bride’ was again stretched to the limit, for quite a different reason – but that’s another story.

The second thought was: isn’t there something in Canon Law about persuading someone to marry against their will?

Oh, well. Not my affair.

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