SHARING A LIFE - Page 5 ©2002 Deborah Henson-Conant

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Once we were hired to play for a wedding. A second wedding, in which the bride’s 5-or-6-year-old daughter also participated. The little girl was thrilled and adorable, the bride and groom were amorous and sincere and all their closest friends had come for the wedding. It was a ceremony “in the round,” all the guests encircling the couple and their minister, the small meeting room filled with candles. Celeste and I were slotted in amongst the guests. We’d been hired to play the processional and recessional.

But that left us sitting amongst the guests during the ceremony itself, and somewhere along when the adorable five-year-old walked in carefully balancing the rings on a satin cushion, Celeste started snuffling. Then I started snuffling. And then, I made the fatal mistake of turning to look at my friend. One wide-eyed look and we both giggled. Or rather, we both tried not to giggle.

Have you ever had this experience: you are moved to the point of crying, but you're embarrassed about crying; you turn to a friend and you both start to laugh, no matter how hard you try not to?

Do you happen to remember what sound comes out of your throat at that point? You may recall that it sounds very much like sobbing.

Imagine this: it’s your wedding. You’ve hired a classical duo. You’re in the middle of an intimate, moving ceremony - your friends are all about you, it is the moment you've been planning for years -- and the band is sobbing audibly, uncontrollably. Blubbering. Hiccupping. Sniffing. Dripping.

We had no Kleenex. Why should the band bring Kleenex? We had to wipe our noses on our gowns.

Once we played for a winery event up in the California wine country. We set ourselves up by the lake, an idyllic scene: A golden harp and glistening cello, two women in long flowing gowns, weeping willows, late afternoon silky sun and swans. Many swans.

What one does not immediately think about swans is that they might not like harp and cello music. Or … they might like it A LOT. Whatever the musical tastes of these particular birds, whenever we played Saint Saens “The Swan,” a staple of our repertoire, they joined in. Loudly.

When we stopped, they stopped. When we started they started in again.

Once, Celeste and I actually gave a public concert. We called it “An Evening of Fluff.” We wanted to give the audience value for their money. So we played and played and played ...and played. As we started up to the stage for our final number, I heard a man groan, "Oh God, not ANOTHER one!"

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