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Arley Hall & Gardens is a place of enormous character, charm and interest. Visitors are frequently struck by the warm and intimate atmosphere and the feeling that Arley is a much-cherished family home.

The elaborate ceilings and oak panelling, impressive fireplaces, intricate stained glass and beautiful contents are features which make Arley Hall so special. Visit and enter a piece of living history. Arley gives an intimate insight into life in the Hall and the history of a family that has cherished Arley as their home for over 550 years.

The Gardens, which are amongst the finest in Britain, are outstanding for their vitality, variety and historical interest and are particularly celebrated for the magnificent double herbaceous border.

This was the venue for todays wedding between Alana and Cameron on Friday 21 April 2023.

Today was a two part set up. Firstly we were providing music for their ceremony and then moving into the great hallway where we set up under the staircase to play during the wedding drinks reception.

Alana and Cameron had also purchased our Piano Shell for the drinks reception which looked very in keeping with the surroundings.

The Wedding Ceremony

As there was a piano in the ceremony room we decided it was best to use that which meant we could set up our piano shell for the drinks reception. Whilst it doesn’t take long to move from one part of a venue to another, any preparation we can do always helps. By setting up our shell with the Nord Piano all cabled in we were ready then to seamlessly transition into the drinks reception.

For the ceremony however, we used the venue’s Grand Piano. This is always a risk as invariably these instruments are rarely if ever tuned or maintained. The piano at Arley Hall was no exception, but it was just about enough in tune with itself to be useable with the cello.

Music for the ceremony

Pre Ceremony
How long will I love you – Ellie Goulding
Can’t help falling in love with you.
Love story.
Shallow- lady gaga
A million dreams.

Tale as old as time- as guests are seating for ceremony.

Bridal Entrance
A Thousand Years – Christina Perri

In The rare old times- the Dubliners

Wild Rover

Having grappled with the piano in the ceremony room Jules was certainly glad to be playing the Nord Stage Piano again during the drinks reception.

It’s worth perhaps just explaining this issue with venue pianos. It’s not that we want to be critical. In many ways the instrument at Arley Hall was a rather good one. Certainly when it came out of Bechstein’s factory it would have been a splendid example of the genre.

However if pianos are not regularly tuned, ideally every six months but at least once a year, then they soon get to a stage where they are not ideal as an accompanying instrument.

The issue is not so much that the instrument goes out of tune – technically we can tune the cello to be slightly flat (which is what we did on this occasion). The problem occurs when not all the notes on the piano go out of tune to the same extent. The piano (along with the organ and other keyboard instruments) is the only one where you can tune each individual note.

The point being, we can tune the entire range of the cello to be slightly flat or slightly sharp. But we cannot make some notes more flat than others. Ok yes I agree the cello has four strings, but if you start tuning them slightly differently then this opens a whole different can of worms!

In summary, where possible we always use our own instruments as this is the best way to guarantee our music will sound as it should. However sometimes for practical reasons it is better or easier to use a venue piano – sometimes decibel limits or rules about amplification also require this use.

We can always find a way, as indeed we did for today’s ceremony!

The Drinks Reception

Happily back playing his Nord Stage Piano in our Grand Piano Shell, Jules quickly re tuned the Cello and we were back playing music for Alana and Cameron’s Drinks reception.

Alana had chosen some great music for the drinks reception which included

Marry you- Bruno mars
Dreams- fleetwood mac
Bridgeton theme
Dirty old town – the prouges

The request was to follow this with more upbeat music as Cameron was very much into his Irish music!

We had a great time at Alana and Cameron’s wedding and we wish them every happiness in their married life together.

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