John Birchenall and Sparanda Herbert Wedding Ceremony

Event Details

Band: Ceremony Quartet consisting of 3 vocals, violin and piano accompaniment.

Date: Saturday 2nd April, 11:00am

Venue: Chapel of St Michael the Archangel, 50 Ruislip Street, West Leederville, Western Australia.

On Saturday the 2nd of April 2011 I played as a part of the wedding ceremony band for the wedding ceremony of John Birchenall and Sparanda Herbert this was held at 11:00 am at the Chapel of St Michael the Archangel in West Leederville on the grounds of the Catholic Education Office (CEO).

John approached me and my music management business, the Wedding Music Planner, to see if i could help him in a few different capacities to organise the music for his wedding ceremony including running two wedding band rehearsals, song selection advice and actually playing / Musical Directing on the wedding day.


Chapel of St Michael the Archangel

I have known John for many years, we met in 2003 at a Catholic Youth convention where I was the Musical Director (MD) of the band. Since that time he served for a long period of time as the bass player in various church bands that I was leading through Foundations Community and Church, Youth Impact, City Impact Community and Church, the Foundations Arts Team and Impact Catholic Ministry. He has also seen me play professionally at many different functions and events including in various covers bands including Animal Jam (I played keys and did backing vocals), jazz gigs and plenty of weddings for a number of different people all of whom have asked for a diverse array of song styles and instrumentations.

For John and Sparanda’s wedding they had selected a group of musicians that they knew and trusted to provide the music, I and my business the Wedding Music Planner was one facet of their wedding band. The band consisted of four people including myself playing piano and singing vocals, Davia Bennett playing the violin and two vocalists, Pastor Joel Chelliah and Rebecca Gawel. We prepared the songs selected over two rehearsals on the Monday nights leading up to the wedding ceremony as well as with a soundcheck at the chapel on the morning of the ceremony itself.

John and Sparadna desired to create an atmosphere for their wedding ceremony of fusing together the traditional with the modern, this was reflected in their song selections. For a prelude song, to which both Sparanda’s families entered the chapel and took their seats in the front reserved pews, the song “Cannon in D” by Pachebel was played as an instrumental by myself and Davia on the violin. This was followed by Joel and Rebecca singing a duet called “This Day”, a modern song by Kriste that reflected the hearts of two people coming together and standing forever together from this day forward. Sparanda entered the church at the climax of the song, when Davia lead into her violin solo, ighlights of the songs included the harmonies and counter melody executed by Ps Joel throughout the final verse and chorus.

To add another element to the ceremony John and Sparanda wanted to include a song of worship to God, this was largely due to the importance their faith had played in their individual lives and how much they desired God to be a part of their married life. To be inclusive of all the guests they selected the song “Amazing Grace” which commenced as the parents lit their respective family candles on the altar. In a modern twist on the original, the version used was recorded by Christian artist Chris Tomlin and contained an added in chorus to the original hymn. The male voice of Ps Joel, supported with harmonies from myself and Rebecca and the violin passages from Davia created an atmosphere of reverence though out the entire chapel.

Tabernacle at Chapel of St Michael the Archangel

Tabernacle at Chapel of St Michael the Archangel

The next song we played was at the signing of the registry. John asked Davia and myself if we could arrange the song “From the Inside Out” written by Joel Houston, from  Hillsong Church in Sydney, to be played instrumentally. We had an extra rehearsal to work out the exact length of time we’d need, arrangement for when she would play the melody and when I would take the lead to ensure that this song would be done memorably.

For the recessional hymn John and Sparanda again went for a modern and contemporary hymn, “Now That You’re Near” by Marty Sampson, from Hillsong Church in Sydney. Their reasoning for selecting this song was to create a celebratory atmosphere and select something that many of the guests would know and be able to join in with the signing as they left the chapel. I lead this one on vocals with Joel and Bec giving backing vocal support and Davia playing supporting lines on the violin.

The whole process of preparing the band, rehearsing them and then playing at John and Sparanda’s wedding was an extremely enjoyable one. The combination of musicians we had to do the songs was the perfect blend of voices and skill and the personalities made it a joy filled experience with lots of laughter and many jokes throughout rehearsals.

I know a lot of musicians who don’t enjoy the experience of playing at and organising music for weddings, they don’t like the organisation and forward planning, the dealing with stressed brides and grooms and the responsibility that goes with providing what largely affects the entire atmosphere of a ceremony (it does make or break it). Personally I love all of that, the excitement you get when meeting with them prior to their wedding day and hearing their vision right through to the satisfaction you get when the ceremony is done and everything has worked perfectly and without mistake always keeps me enjoying this side of my professional work as a musician.

I am available to hire for weddings, private functions and corporate events through the Wedding Music Planner as a musician, booking agent, musical director or wedding music consultant.

For more information get in touch with me by connecting through email, twitter or facebook or through the Wedding Music Planner.

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