The Flourishing of Wedding Singers

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Gayramon, Marvin O. Ethnomusicology I

The Flourishing Of Wedding Singers
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A wedding nowadays is not only considered a big and special event but a very important social occasion that entails lots of elements to make it a successful one. One of the most important element of a successful wedding is music. Almost all rituals employ the use of music to enhance emotions and set the tone for the traditional rites. In weddings, the music adds to the solemnity, romance and happiness that the couple are experiencing as they celebrate their matrimony with friends and family. The wedded couple usually hires a set of musicians (string quartet or band) to provide music during the church wedding ceremony and entertainment at the reception. Instruments chosen may vary but the one most important musical factor is having a wedding singer. A wedding singer’s job is 1. To sing parts of the mass and lead the congregation to sing, 2. To sing the couple’s favorite love songs during the photo session with the bridal entourage, family and friends 3. To provide entertainment and dinner (or lunch) music while the guests in the reception partake of the sumptuous food and 4. To sing important parts of the reception which are considered as wedding traditions namely the father and bride or mother and son dance, the couple’s first dance and the prosperity dance or money dance. -------------------------------------------------

In the olden days, family members or close friends of a certain couple act as wedding singers and do at least one of these tasks. They would usually sing at weddings as their gift to the couple. In other words, they would perform pro bono. As time progressed and as weddings became grander, the employment of professional singers to perform certain tasks in weddings became a common and necessary practice. -------------------------------------------------

This study aims to probe the significance of wedding singers in this day and age. As we examine pop culture, it was the The Wedding Singer, a 1998 romantic comedy film that brought importance and awareness about hiring professional singers in weddings. It was written by Tim Herlihy and directed by Frank Coraci that stars Adam Sandler as a wedding singer in the 1980s and Drew Barrymore as a waitress with whom he falls in love. The film was later adapted into a stage musical with the same title, debuting on Broadway in April 2006 and closing on New Year's Eve of that same year. Here in Manila, the theater company 9 Works Theatricals got the rights to do the local production of the same musical at the Meralco Theater in 2010 streamlined by showbiz stars and theater veterans as well. The successful month-long run was proof that wedding singers are not only known in the United States but also in many other countries including the Philippines. Just this 2012, a US television series piloted in November 10 called The Wedding Band. This only goes to show that musicians and wedding singers are indeed mainstream today. The storyline centers on the bromance of four likable but occasionally reckless young men who can't figure out their own lives. One thing they have figured out, however, is that weddings are the wildest parties in town. After all, the groupies are bridesmaids, the drinks are free and the best part, there's a paycheck waiting at the end of the night. It's not just weddings, the band also brings the party to bar mitzvahs, high-school reunions and even bachelorette parties. This plot seems to be taking the topic of wedding singers to the extreme but it proves a point that there is indeed life as a professional singer or musician in the wedding industry. -------------------------------------------------

In March 2010, I was introduced by a good friend Francis Amora to his boss of the music ensemble he plays for,...
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