We were so honored when one of the retirement communities in Sun City we play at regularly asked us to be a part of the vow renewal for their residents this Valentine’s Day.
To prepare for the celebration, the planners asked nine couples who would be renewing their vows what they considered “their song”. This is what they said:
- Let’s Face the Music and Dance, a song written in 1936 by Irving Berlin for the film Follow the Fleet, where it was introduced by Fred Astaire
- The Second Time Around, a song with words by Sammy Cahnand music by Jimmy Van Heusen. It was introduced in the 1960 film High Time, sung by Bing Crosby with Henry Mancini conducting his orchestra, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
- New York, New York, the theme song from the Martin Scorsese film New York, New York (1977), composed by John Kander, with lyrics by Fred Ebb. It was written for and performed in the film by Liza Minnelli.
- Lara’s Theme, the name given to a leitmotif written for the film Doctor Zhivago (1965) by composer Maurice Jarre. The leitmotif became the basis of the song “Somewhere, My Love”. In 1967, “Somewhere, My Love” won Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Chorus, and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
- True Love, a popularsong written by Cole Porter and published in 1956. The song was introduced by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly in the musical film High Society. “True Love” was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
- I’ll see you in my dreams, written by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Gus Kahn, and published in 1924. Originally recorded by Isham Jones and the Ray Miller Orchestra, it charted for 16 weeks during 1925, spending seven weeks at number one.
- Woman in love, a song performed by Barbra Streisand and taken from her 1980 album, Guilty. The song was written by Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, who received the 1980 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
The vow renewal ceremony was held in a large ballroom. We began prelude music of love songs at 3:30 as guests arrived. Around 4:00, the 9 couples who were there to renew their vows entered as we played True Love. The couples were dressed formally, with ladies in formal gowns and men in tuxedos and suits. They took their seats on each side of the arbor covered in flowers.
The officiant welcomed everyone and then gave each couple a chance to come under the arbor to renew their vows. Each lady and man got a chance to tell their story to the guests or read a letter to their spouse. After they each had a chance to speak, the couples said their “I Do’s” and then kissed.
The ceremony took about an hour to get through all of the couples and then they moved on to the cocktail hour and dinner. We moved to another section of the ballroom for this portion of the event. We set up besides the dance floor, in front of the 4-piece band that would be playing for dancing after dinner. As the couples drank their cocktails, ate shrimp cocktail, salads and their main dishes, we played more classical love songs. Some couples even got up to dance, which was very sweet.
Before we knew it, dinner was over and it was time for the dance band to begin. But we were so glad to have been able to add the musical backdrop for such a touching celebration.