Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reverend Mother

Like many of my female counterparts, I can never get enough of The Sound of Music, movie or musical version.

Previously, it was Maria with whom I could relate the most. She is, of course, the mother of seven children. And she's a whiz at fashioning matching kids-wear out of curtains. If only I could sing.

But this weekend, I learned that I may have more in common with Sister Margaretta who, at the end of the movie must admit, "Reverend Mother, I have sinned." So, like Sister Margaretta, let me just clear the air here and say it with conviction, "Reverend Mother, I have sinned."

The wheels were set in motion several weeks ago. As was noted in a previous post, friends of ours had asked The King's Strings to play for their wedding and reception. Because they are theatre folks, they decided upon a theatre-themed wedding and long ago when they asked the priest if they could have show tunes in their wedding, he told them they could have whatever music they chose. However, just weeks before the wedding the church's music director decided that they could not play secular music during their wedding for fear the members of the audience would recognize the music and begin to hum along or get the words stuck in their heads.

Now, let me say that I do recognize that sometimes churches have policies concerning wedding music. If so, this should be communicated up front, before a couple chooses their favorite music and before they ask their musicians to practice said music. I have to ask, however, how much damage is done by being so black-and-white and telling a couple that they can only have church-sanctioned music? Even if you do have a music policy at your church, I'm not sure why all secular music needs to be automatically thrown out. If a song is not anti-church, anti-Christianity, or anti-marriage, is it really necessary to throw it out? Take Sunrise, Sunset for instance. Okay, they're Jewish, not Catholic but it's a beautiful piece that touches the hearts of parents everywhere as we think back on how quickly the years have gone by to bring us to this point. So why can't the mothers walk down the aisle to this song? And who's to say that Tevye and his family didn't convert to Catholicism after being forced to leave Anatevka? Let's consider One Hand, One Heart from West Side Story. It seems to me it's all about the very same marriage vows that the priest will lead the couple through on their wedding day. And songs from The Sound of Music? Maria's Catholic and was going to be a Nun. She even got married in a Catholic church. That should mean something, shouldn't it?

But I'm obviously not a church music director, Catholic or otherwise, so I guess I just don't really understand how this works. But I certainly did sympathize with our friends. We were so ready to help that we even suggested we could change all the names of the show tunes into church-sanctioned lyrics, google translate them into Latin, and write The King's Strings as the composer so no one would be the wiser.

In the end, we didn't have to take such drastic measures and most of their music was allowed to be played for the prelude and postlude. Their favorite song however, intended for the recessional, was a likely candidate for the chopping block. Feeling their pain, and rather than take the chance of losing THEIR song, the one thing they HAD to have in their wedding, we came up with a Sound of Music Nuns-type plan.

The official wedding order of service said that we would be playing Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring for the recessional. This song was of course chosen by the music director, not the couple tying the knot. We placed this music in our folders and dutifully played it for the rehearsal. It sounded lovely and all was well.

Somehow (and no one's talking so we still don't know exactly how this happened), the beloved piece, Grow Old with You from The Wedding Singer, mysteriously appeared in our folders and this is what was played for the recessional on the actual wedding day. The bride and groom were ecstatic and even the bride's mother looked over at us and gave us a very grateful thumbs up. It was perfect and all was well.

After the wedding the very nice music director asked us the name of the piece we played for the recessional. I told her the name of it and she said, "So it wasn't an arrangement of Jesu, Joy of Many's Desiring then? Because the organist and I didn't recognize it and were wondering. I had Jesu listed on my order of service."

We looked from one to the other, silently whispering, "Reverend Mother, I have sinned." Then, looking bewildered, we let out a collective, "Ooooohhhhhh. Huh?" and hurried to the van to exhale and to collapse in a fit of giggles. All was well.

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