Updated: Mar 2
Amanda + Michael's Country Wedding
As the popular 2020 saying goes, “Love is not cancelled.” Amanda and Michael came to me for wedding music while we were still in the tail end of the 2020 shutdown. Unlike so many couples who had decided to postpone their wedding celebrations, they knew that for better or for worse, pandemic or no pandemic, they were going to be married. From the moment we first met via Zoom, it was instantly clear to me why. Every look, every exchange of comments, every detail of their body language, manifested a beautiful synergy.
It was true love.
Coming both from Catholic families, the ceremony was extremely important to them. When Amanda found me on The Knot, she was intrigued by the exceptional quality of music which my team delivers, and the many glowing reviews we have been grateful to receive from other couples. She knew she had found a musician whom she could trust wholeheartedly with her special day.
I jumped two feet first into the wedding planning, ready for the challenges that I knew the pandemic would be throwing our way. At the time of booking, their church had not yet re-opened. I didn’t tell them at the time, but I was reviewing other options to present to them, just in case their particular church didn’t work out. We all issued a great sigh of relief when the church did open its doors again. New capacity limits quickly tempered the mood, however. Only 50 people were allowed inside the building, far less than the number of guests already RSVP-ed.
As I read through the pandemic safety guidelines at their church, I was further perplexed. Communion had been moved to the very end of the liturgy, making impossible the traditional celebratory walk of the couple out of the church at the end of the ceremony. The most painful news arrived when Amanda’s own maid of honor and one set of grandparents were unable to attend.
The wedding industry is known for its creativity, and it has come to a head more than ever during the pandemic. Amanda and Michael's photo/video team, Pure Sonic, came up with an ingenious solution to the problem of the capacity limit. They would put together a ceremony video which would be shared with the rest of their guests during the cocktail hour. The setbacks made me likewise all the more determined to make their wedding as perfect as possible. They deserved an extra-special ceremony, and they were going to get it.
My first step in planning music for a wedding is to establish the desired mood. The choice of instruments is extremely important in this part of the process. A phone call to the church revealed that their organ (a refurbished Wicks organ) was in great working order, and knowing how much Amanda loves the sound of the strings, I recommended my most popular package, the Designer. The combination of organ, violin, and singer would bring the romantic sound of strings to their wedding, while adding depth of sound and color from the organ.
Once the instrumentation has been decided, the second step is to create the music plan. A Catholic wedding ceremony is an elaborate affair, involving a dozen or so different musical selections, all carefully timed and sequenced. We set up a Zoom meeting, where I got to know them and their vision better. We landed on a delightful combination of traditional wedding selections with some unusual twists. An original and rarely heard setting of the Ave Maria, and a particularly challenging and energetic recessional with the violin were must-have’s.
How to handle the recessional (exit from the church) was my biggest challenge. If communion were to occur at the end of the ceremony as prescribed by the new pandemic regulations, their wedding would end on a somber, quiet note. The couple would not get to experience the release of nerves and exuberant joy that occurs when walking down the aisle as a just-married couple. Following proper safety precautions was a top priority to me, and so I bit the bullet and contacted the person in charge of designing the region’s guidelines, the Diocesan Director of Divine Worship himself. After explaining the situation, he agreed to grant us an exception. Success!
Once our music planning was done, Amanda and Michael didn’t need to worry about a thing. I took over, coordinating the hiring of musicians, the distribution of sheet music, the music rehearsal, the communication with the priest and the videographer, and all the other details.
The wedding day arrived. The weather was perfect. The ceremony was located at a lovely little country church in Fredericktown, Missouri. I could feel excitement oozing from Amanda and Michael as I met them face to face for the first time. Amanda looked just like a fairytale princess. I held back tears as I watched her process down the aisle with her father. Ben’s adept playing on the organ seamlessly transitioned from one moment to the next, and Adrian’s exquisite violin skills transported us all to another realm. When it was time for me to sing the Ave Maria, the trio of musicians echoed mysteriously throughout the church.
When it was finally time for the recessional, all eyes were riveted on the couple's radiant faces, and Amanda and Michael processed out of the church for the very first time as husband and wife.
It was a flawless finish for a very special couple.
Seating of the Parents and Grandparents “Air on G” by Bach
Wedding Party Procession “Canon in D” by Pachelbel
Bridal Procession “O God Beyond All Praising” by Perry/Holst
Psalm 148 “Let all praise the name of the Lord.” by Ostrowski
Alleluia “Festival Alleluia” by Chepponis
Offertory “The Gift of Love” by Hopson
Mass setting “Mass of Creation” by Haugen
Communion “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach
Marian Devotion “Ave Maria” by Caccini, arr. by Buchholz
Recessional “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” by Handel
"Amazing!!! We hired Angela for our wedding ceremony at a Catholic Church, and she was so great and easy to work with, and so talented! We wanted an organ and violin also, and she made that happen - with amazing talented musicians. Everything ran so smoothly from early on, even during the craziness of Covid-19. Through emails, calls, and Zoom meetings, we planned our wedding music together, and Angela handled the rest to make sure everything went perfectly. My husband and I really did not know what we wanted as far as music, but Angela helped us make our music unique, meaningful, and beautiful. The week of our wedding, our original violinist was no longer able to attend, but Angela took care of it and found a replacement so quickly and made it completely stress-free for us. I would highly recommend Angela for her professionalism, ease to work with, friendliness, and talent!"
Special thanks to Pure Sonic Films and Photography for the images in this article.
Facebook: Angela Marie Rocchio, Soprano