JAM Duo get asked to be involved in all sorts of music events as well as weddings and one of our more unusual this year was to be part of a wedding proposal in Edinburgh.
I say unusual – many musicians do get involved in proposals but usually it’s something more suited to a violinist as they can literally walk up out of nowhere, magic up a violin and start playing. For us it is a little more complicated. Even with a more basic setup we still have to have the piano, cello and a small PA System along with stand for the keyboard and two seats for us.
And so when the enquiry came through to play for a wedding proposal at the Ross Fountain in Edinburgh at sunrise we were keen to see how we could make this work.
Music was always going to be a key part of this proposal as Nick had written a piece of music for his bride to be. This is something she knew about and presumably liked the song. It had been arranged for string quartet and orchestral backing so the first challenge was to produce our own arrangement for Cello and Piano. Nick also wanted the effect of the orchestration.
This of course is the advantage of professional musicians. Both Jules and Anne-Marie have studied music to Degree level and beyond and so the idea of arranging an orchestral score for cello and piano is something we can do in our sleep or even at sight.
Therefore we said yes to Nick and went on our usual premise that we can make anything happen if we know what the intention is.
With the proposed location being the Ross Fountain in Edinburgh at sunrise, the first thing we had to do was contact the council to establish what permissions might be needed for a public performance of music at that time. Obviously we realise a lot of people would just wing it and not bother, but we are always keen to do things properly. And it’s good we checked because Edinburgh City Council do not permit ‘busking’ or public music performances in the city before 9am.
Not a problem, we spoke to Nick and arranged to ‘meet’ just after 9am. He had also arranged a professional photographer – Rhiannon Neale Photography – to capture the event. There is an album of her photographs below. You can find out more about Rhiannon by visiting her website.
With the plan in place and everyone hoping for good weather, this being early October, we set off the day before from our home in the Cotswolds and booked ourselves into a Premier Inn just outside Edinburgh.
Despite the later start time it was still an early start from the hotel, leaving just before 7am to drive into the centre of the city. Research had shown there was a public car park not too far from the Ross Fountain but it would still be a five minute walk. This may not seem much but bear in mind we have to carry a keyboard which when packed weighs 50kg. We also need the cello of course, a keyboard stand, two stools, two speakers and the necessary cables.
None of this is of course difficult and it is what we do daily. And so by allowing enough time and planing the parking carefully in advance we arrived in Edinburgh by 8am.
Ready in plenty of time and using our own portable power supply, we linked up with Rhiannon and then waited for Nick and Lexi to arrive. As everything had been arranged over email and WhatsApp, Nick helpfully sent us a photograph of them that morning so we knew who we were playing the music for….!
Right on time Nick and Lexi walked into the park. We had been playing some standard repertoire so it looked like we were just some random musicians busking in the park – that was the cover story. Then as they approached we seamlessly blended into the introduction to ‘Marshmallow’ which was Nick’s composition.
This was then timed with Nick’s going down on one knee like the true gentleman – there were a few tears and she said Yes!
We then played the song again as a ‘personal’ performance for Nick and Lexi – after all they had travelled all the way from Brooklyn in New York for this and so it was the least we could do.
Professional Photographs Courtesy of Rhiannon Neale Photography
By her own admission on her website, Surprise Proposals are amongst her favourite things to capture. We are really grateful to Rhiannon for allowing us to use these photos on our website. Do check her out to find out more – she also photographs Weddings and Families.
We really enjoyed being a part of Nick and Lexi’s wedding proposal. Whilst it was hard work and a lot of preparation it had the advantage that by 9.30am our work for the day was done and we then took some time out to enjoy the sights of Edinburgh before driving back to the Cotswolds.