A Comedy of Errors

I was told this story on Sunday by a member of our Bell Choir. I thought is was pretty funny.

A couple of weeks ago, a member of my Bell Choir was playing the organ at a local Catholic wedding. She was under the impression that all she had to do was accompany the singer. Well, when she got to the church the day of the wedding, the priest informed her that she needed to play for the whole wedding service, including the liturgy. She had no music for the service, and had to rummage through the organist’s files until she found it. It wasn’t in the right order, however, so she just tried to wing it.

The organ in the church she was at is in the balcony at the back of the sanctuary, and unless people looked back, no one could see her. She phoned her cousin, who had played at several Catholic weddings, and her cousin talked her through the service. It came time for communion, and her cousin remembered that there had to be a hymn as the bread and wine were brought to the altar. She told my friend to just open the hymnal and play something. My friend hurriedly opened the hymnal and played the first chord of the song on the page to which it opened, which was in D major, and realized that she had opened the hymnal to Oh Come, All Ye Faithful, which wouldn’t have worked out for a Spring wedding. She sustained the D major chord with the foot pedals as she flipped through the hymnal to find another hymn in D major, and finally found one. I guess the rest of the wedding service went ok.

I can only imagine how nerve-racking that must have been. I sort of wish she had played Oh Come, All Ye Faithful. That would have really made the wedding one for the books.

Any comedy of errors you can tell about? What are some songs you would like to hear at a wedding?

60 thoughts on “A Comedy of Errors”

  1. What a nightmare! Sounds like she handled it well, but someone really dropped the ball there, and should be strung up by their thumbs.

    I have heard some great alternatives to the usual Lohengrin processional (“Here comes the bride”), but do you think I can remember them now? The one I’ve heard most often for recessional is Wedding March by Mendelssohn – just found out it’s from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    I could imagine Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s night… I’ll bet there will be some fun alternatives today.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. “Churchy” comedies of errors are common to places with strongly set liturgies and with overly casual ones. Yours was with the “strongly set” variety where someone assumed that, as the hired organist, you’d know what to play in the absence of being told. Mine was with the other side. I’d been told that the pianist would be able to play anything I named and would show up early enough for us to touch base. As it was, he showed up on the dot of the moment we were to begin, and announced that, being untrained, he couldn’t read music, and could play “by ear” 3 or 4 things.
    The congregation (I was a guest preacher) made it through the hour, they had known what to expect. I was the one “out of step”. Come to think of it, this happened to me more than once!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Last minute pulpit supply for Wednesday evening Lenten service. No programs. They told me there would be three hymns and I could announce them as I wished. Holden service is printed in booklets which congregation had and organist would follow me. Turns out they did not do the service as printed . Organist stopped me twice and loudly chastised me for not doing it properly. We got to point before sermon and I asked for a hymn. He told me that was wrong and I could just leave and he would do the sermon. I left. A turn the other cheek moment. As I went out the door half the congregation followed. It led to a big fight the next day over who was in charge of worship. Two months later I got a letter of apology and a check. At me home church I was asked to do a service written aroun psalms. Choir director called and told me she was in charge of services and she rejected my plan and would write her own. Do I backed out. 6 months later she was fired.

      Liked by 5 people

    1. Other traditional processional choices: Trumpet Tune – Purcell, Trumpet Tune in D Major – David N. Johnson, Now Thank We All Our God – Bach, Trumpet Voluntary – Purcell. I was an organist for a brief time in another life (my 20’s) and played all of these except the Bach. I only had to play “Here Comes the Bride” once, thankfully. I loathe that song.

      Liked by 7 people

        1. Jesu joy of man’s desiring. Air for the g string, sheep may safely graze, and a cutting from wall tempered clavier. Talent organist was Sandra’s mother’s best friend, who stood with her through her huge health issues

          Liked by 6 people

  3. A rather short comedy of errors but still funny and memorable.
    Our wedding was on a budget with a capital B, so we held it in my fiancee’s parents’ backyard in St. Louis Park. We put up a long blue tarp on one side of the yard to block off the messy neighbor’s yard and set up about 50 folding chairs for guests and only planned to have coffee, lemonade, and cake afterward in the same place.

    For music, I set up my stereo in the backyard of my wife’s parents’ house. I recruited my young cousin to drop the needle on the processional as the wedding party came down the short aisle. We’d practiced the night before and things went smoothly. But wouldn’t you know, the track I chose for the procession decided to skip for the first time in probably one hundred playings! My cousin didn’t quite know what to do, so we listened to it skip for about thirty seconds before someone came to the rescue and bumped it forward.

    Problem solved?

    That one yes, but just as the judge was about to start the ceremony, another neighbor across the alley and down a few houses picked that exact moment to fire up his lawnmower, which desperately needed a tune-up. We all froze for a minute until my quick-thinking uncle (the father of my “musical coordinator”) dashed down the alley and politely (I hope!) asked the neighbor to delay mowing the lawn for about 15 minutes.

    He trotted back with a smile on his face and we were able to finish the ceremony. But while Sandra and I stood in front of the judge waiting for the lawnmower to stop, he said, “Not many couples get a chance this late in the game to reconsider. Are you sure about this?” He said it with a smile on his face and we reassured him that we were

    Forty-three years, ten months, and twenty-four days later, we’re still sure.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Sandy and I, more Sandy, put whole wedding together in 8 and a half weeks from day we decided to get married. Very modest wedding but it all went seemlessly. We dated a week and a half and decided to get married in a year. The next day we moved it up to 8 weeks. That was 57 years ago.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Congratulations, Clyde. You chose wisely. 🙂 It took me more than 4 years to get up the nerve to ask Sandra to marry me. . . . Well, actually, she gave me a bit of an ultimatume: “Propose or take a hike.”

        Small coincidence about our wives’ names, but mine always goes by Sandra.

        I chose wisely too.


        Liked by 3 people

        1. Sandy hates Sandra, except me calling her that. It has always been Sandra to me but I have half trained myself to refer to her as Sandy.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. At my daughter’s wedding the organist was her piano teacher who flew in from Arizona. It one point she got a bad bloody nose during a hymn. Two other organists were there and both noticed and nobody else did. One stepped over and slid onto the bench and they made a seemless transition. The two other organists finished service until recessional when first organist came back. Only then did my daughter notice.
    There were three there because of daughter being a pastor.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Our processional was Trumpet Voluntary. Darrel, the trumpeter, was THE local trumpet player back then. Man, he was good and could hit all those high notes.

    Recessional was ‘G Major Toccata’ by Fresh Aire. There’s about 6 seconds of silence at the start. We were introduced as ‘Mr and Mrs’ and we kissed, and the applause died down, we’re standing there in silence thinking the sound guy screwed up, and I nudged Kelly and said out of the corner of my mouth “JUST GO!” And the music came in about then.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Rhosyemedre, an organ piece by Vaghan Williams, the Horn Pope by Handel from the Water Music, and I will have to look up the others.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. My grandfather dropped the collection plate on the floor at my baptism, and the money flew all over. My dad used to tease my grandfather about getting so excited to see that money in the plate and dropping it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Daughter was baptized by a one arm man. After the baptism was done he carried her around to show congregation. Of course he had done this many times but it was sort of scary to watch.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. I remember someone dropping the collection plate. The noise that makes, not to mention all the coins and the echos. It still makes me laugh.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. A cousin of Sandy’s would give their three year old a sucker to quiet him down in church, which became a sort of Pavlovian response. At another cousin’s wedding at a quiet moment he started saying rather loudly “sucker, sucker, sucker.”

    Liked by 6 people

  8. I was asked to sing with my guitar at my former roommate’s wedding in 1973, and I said yes – luckily it was a very small wedding, very 70s with hand written vows; the bride sewed her own dress.. I was able to do it from the back – The Wedding Song (There is Love) by Paul Stokey – I see now it he wrote it for in 1969 for Peter Yarrow’s wedding which took place in Willmar, MN! This from wiki – who knew?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. While searching for these, I found a list of Inappropriate Songs for Weddings, https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-songs/inappropriate/ ,
    – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2
    – Let’s Get It On – Marvin Gaye
    – Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
    – Please Release Me – Engelbert Humperdinck
    – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – The Righteous Brothers
    – Nothing Lasts Forever – Echo & the Bunnymen

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I attended a concert back in the mid seventies at St. Cate’s that featured Chris Williamson,Tret Fure, and Meg Christian (I think). I’m sure about Williamson and Fure, but the third woman may have been someone else. I wonder if another baboon might have been at that concert as well?

      OT – Just want to remind baboons, depending on where you live, now might be the best time to test out recipes involving hostas. Some of mine are about ready to harvest.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. OT. Blevins this Sunday. 2 p.m. tim’s
    How the One Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
    My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will be there in spirit. I am up and walking, but sitting in a chair is too uncomfortable. I probably can host for the next meeting, depending on when it is.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. When YA was still Toddler, her godfather got married and we traveled to Florida for the wedding. Toddler was asked to be flower girl. It was a very large church and a very small gathering (long story about appeasing godfather’s mother). The plan was for Toddler and I to walk down the aisle, Toddler holding a basket of flowers. We stopped at the front pew and then bride and groom came down the aisle. The basket of flowers was handed off to the bride. Toddler, who even back then was fairly even-tempered, let out a huge wail that reverberated off the walls of this large church “Jeanne took my flowers!” Luckily this didn’t bother either bride or groom. Groom’s mother looked a little aghast….

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I was an usher for a wedding. A Catholic wedding, so quiet and solemn. As it came time to dismiss the family, I motioned to The MOTB that she could leave. In a loud strong voice, she said “YOU COMING WITH?”.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. A relative on husband’s side got married about 20 years ago in Ames, Iowa. The couple in question were both people that I found hard to tolerate. They were quite young, and there were stories of verbal and physical aggression floating around. The marriage seemed likely to be troubled.

    The June day of the wedding dawned cloudy and rainy, then at the time of the wedding a storm front went through, just as the procession began. Lightening, thunder at top volume, wind, and rain descended, at times drowning out the ceremony. Then in a final act of weather rage, the church roof was hit by a bolt of lightening, and the sound guy recording the ceremony in the back choir loft was knocked out when the lightening came through his earphones. It was the loudest wedding I ever attended.

    The Happy Couple remains married, but I think only because the parents spend a lot of time holding things together.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Oh my goodness. If lightning striking the church where you’re getting married during the ceremony is not a clear sign from above, what is?

      Liked by 5 people

  14. Pastors have lots of great wedding stories. I only did 7 more memorable for the fun plans than miscues. Did one at noon on 1/1. We sang childrens Sunday school songs, ate baked beans and hot dogs and chips and birthday cake for the new year.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s her right now. Strong winds, continuous lightning and constant rumbling of thunder while hail is bouncing off the windows and everything else. My poor tulips and daffodils must be taking a beating.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Love that album. It’s in the collection of LPs now in tim’s possession, as is, now that I think about it, a couple of Michael Cooney albums.

      Liked by 1 person

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