Today I performed for a wedding ceremony at Alexander House Hotel in Turners Hill, West Sussex. Being a dry, sunny day for the first time in what seems like ages, the decision was made last minute to conduct the ceremony outdoors on the lawn by the pagoda. The location was great for the guests, being seated in the sunshine and it looked very pretty. Unfortunately, I was on the terrace that was in the shade of the building and the breeze was cool to say the least. This particular wedding gig turned out to be tricky for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it was cold to the point where my legs were actually shaking and my fingers were turning blue. Secondly, the toastmaster, whilst being very friendly, spoke to me quite often when I was singing to keep me up to speed with the bride’s timings. Whilst this is important and doesn’t worry me, it does keep me on my toes, and I often have to extend a verse or chorus instrumentally on the fly until I can resume singing! By the end of the gig, I was ‘freezing’, but had at least some respite when I got changed out of my performance outfit, as the changing room had under floor heating!
Prior to the wedding, the bride expressed some concern about the PA system being too loud. This issue comes up occasionally and it’s understandable when so often at events there is a PA system set up that is, how shall I say… obnoxious? Too often it’s either too loud or badly ‘equalised’, sometimes with screeching feedback, and ends up being an offensive sound. It can be difficult explaining to clients, without getting too technical, that my PA system is there to provide a rich, full sound rather than just make me louder, adding just the right amount of reverb and EQ for an atmospheric sound that compliments the space. My “roadie” Chris (a live sound engineer for many years) and I, have put a lot of thought into the equipment I use at weddings and how it should sound. Sourcing some of our favourite gear such as Shure microphones, Roland digital pianos, and Mackie mixers and amplification, we’re both very pleased with the sound quality of the current set up. Whether I’m playing in a dining hall or outside, we make sure the sound is just right for the event.
This gig also saw a couple new additions. Firstly, a new mixer – it’s another Mackie – the ProFX 8 which worked a treat. Secondly, I’ve invested in a solid flight case for my digital stage piano (which Chris says is hernia inducing) but protects my Roland from all the knocks and scrapes it’s likely to get from regular gigging. Thirdly, I added a couple of new songs to the set – ‘Kiss From a Rose’ by Seal, a classic in itself and ‘At Last’ by Etta James, recently performed by Jaz Ellington on BBC1’s The Voice.
All in all, a great gig, if a little…. actually, no – very chilly. Here’s hoping for some scorchers for the next few months!