Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One wedding short?

 As many of you know, I spent almost the whole two years we were in Scotland singing with a women's singing group officially called "Women's Singing Group" but affectionately known to almost everyone as "Loadsaweeminsingin."  Over the course of my two years with them, I became a part of the singing family, and that meant I was brought along to sing at occasions that I wouldn't have been part of as a regular American expat. 
Magdalen Green from the gazebo
In the two years, I sang at three weddings and a funeral with Loadsaweemin - hence the title of this post, homage to the 1994 film that launched Hugh Grant (at least in the United States), and indeed, according to mentalfloss.com, launching the British rom-com as an American genre. 

The first wedding was for someone I did not know, but she was a community organizer in Dundee and wanted a real "community group" to sing at the wedding, so there we were.  In typical small-town Dundee fashion, although I knew neither the bride nor the groom, it turned out that I had recently met the best man at a University event, and I knew one of the (approximately 30) wedding guests from church.

The second wedding was for the son of one of the long-time group members, and it was held at the gazebo pictured above, just down the block from where we lived in Dundee. Of course we were not lucky enough to have such a clear day for the wedding - it was threatening rain, and it finally did start raining as the guests arrived.  Everyone took it in stride, though; we singers pulled out our rainbow umbrellas, and the ushers carried umbrellas in one hand and champagne in the other as they directed people to their sitting and standing spots.  After we sang our song, the groom turned to Loadsaweemin and said "I love you" - we told him we loved him too.

The third wedding was for one of the group members, held in the lovely government chambers of the city of St. Andrews.  She was marrying a man named Bill, and so in addition to our traditional wedding repertoire (The Rose), we also sang Da Do Ron Ron, which, as you may recall, has a lyric that says, "Yeah, my heart stood still. Yeah, his name was Bill..."

Finally, the funeral was for another member of the group who had been declining for a while - she went into a hospice-type facility, where we visited one Monday evening for our usual rehearsal and sang with her in the chapel.  A little while later, she passed away, and there we were.  It was January and the nondenominational chapel was quite busy - folks for the next funeral had to wait in a holding area; then when your number was called (not quite, but pretty close) you walked across the garden to the chapel for your funeral.  We waited, we walked, we listened, and we sang: an arrangement of James Taylor's "Close Your Eyes," and "Think of Me, Forget Me Not." Although I remember this as a sad song, it could go either way - sad for funerals, or happy for the togetherness of a wedding:    

Think of me, forget me not,
Remember me wherever you go.
I am yours and you are mine,
Remember me wherever you go.  
Think of me, forget me not,
Remember me wherever you go. 

 When I think of these events, where I was included as one of the "ladies from Dundee" it makes me nostalgic for this group and how much they were a part of my world in Scotland.  I guess weddings tend to do that, and funerals too, perhaps; although I've been lucky that my attendance at funerals has been more limited than my presence at weddings. 

Facebook, with all its birthday and anniversary reminders, makes me nostalgic too - though I rarely remember the exact dates of anniversaries outside my immediate family (and even then I usually have to consult a cheat-sheet for all but my own) the reminders on Facebook bring back memories of the wedding - like on this date in 2003, when I was part of the wedding of Katie and Beej - Katie's daughter Laura, now a lovely college student, was seven years old at that event - the same age Audrey is now.  I remember all the red bridesmaids dresses, Katie eating grapes in her wedding dress, and the flames on Beej's jacket...surely not his tux, that must have been the rehearsal dinner. Time flies.

One wedding short? Nah, I've had plenty. I've not sung at them all, but at each one I've played some role, and who knows, maybe in 10 or 15 years, someone will look back at a picture or reminisce about who was there and the small details they remember - a song, a red dress, a rainy afternoon, an adorable seven year old who's now all grown up, or a groom named Bill.

1 comment:

Mary McElveen said...

I almost wish we could fly them all here just for you to be part of them again. Do you have recordings? Would love to hear 'Think of me, Forget me not'...