Friday, February 15, 2008

Closet Romantic

I always cry at weddings. In spite of my sometimes cynical attitude towards the marriage institution, I find the sentiment behind two people making a heartfelt public commitment to each other deeply moving, and that little sparkle of romance left in my soul invariably swells up via my eyes, even more so since I tied the knot myself. I've reached that stage in life where every summer brings another two or three weddings, more excuses to buy new frocks and hats, and a chance for me to have a little cathartic weep as yet another pair say "I do". This weekend I shall be attending my first ever gay wedding. I refrain from using the term 'Civil Partnership', as to me it sounds rather formal and boring, and if I know Sham and James, their bash will be anything but dull. I am excited for lots of reasons - not least because they have asked me to sing at the ceremony, something I haven't done for a few years. From the ages of about 10 to 15 I sang in the choir of St Philip's Church Eastbourne, and was even Head Chorister for the latter years (I know, I can hardly picture it now, either!). As well as our usual Sunday duties, the junior choir would make a bit of extra cash by singing at weddings on Saturdays, for people who presumably didn't happen to know any good singers to ask. I've sung a couple of times at family weddings too, most recently at the reception of my cousin's big do in the Lake District last summer. But the last time I actually performed during the ceremony must have been for my Godmother Jood's marriage blessing, back in the early nineties. I remember it was on New Year's Day, so everyone was hungover, and it was freezing cold in church - not the ideal circumstances for singing - but I gave it my best, and it meant a lot to contribute to their special day in such a personal way. When Sham asked me to sing at his wedding to James, I had a feeling they would want something less traditional than I would normally choose for my voice (classical/sacred music is my forté), and so I had fun putting together a list of potential songs, mostly jazz standards, for them to pick from. These included 'Making Whoopee', 'Someone to Watch Over Me', 'Can't Help Lovin Dat Man' and for kitsch value, 'Nobody Does It Better'. Unsurprisingly, they went straight for this, clearly the campest option, which, although not really in my range, will be fun to perform. The lovely Brian will be accompanying me on piano, which makes me feel a lot more confident about the whole thing, and of course the fabulous full-length frock I've bought for the occasion will really help me feel the part. I'm also hugely excited because I've never been to a same-sex ceremony before, and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that British law has finally granted gay couples comparable rights, and the opportunity to express their love more openly than ever before. We've come a long way, and the added significance of this will be sure to make these particular nuptials even more poignant than usual. Let's just hope I can get the singing out of the way before I start to blub.

(Picture courtesy of Gino Ginelli on Flickr)
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