A Very Merry Unwedding to you, to us? To you…

As the Mad Hatter might say: ‘A Very Merry Unwedding-Day’ to us and to all the other couples who have had to postpone their wedding plans because of the Covid-19 virus. This week’s concert was particularly special to George and me as it was on the Eve of what would have been our Wedding Day on Saturday 6th June. Despite making the decision to postpone our Wedding when it became clear that due to the restrictions it would not be possible to go ahead with our plans, we felt a surge of pent up emotions rushing back at the start of this week.  We decided not to fight them but to embrace them and ride the waves of our feelings as the week unfolded in front of us. So on Monday 1st of June we sat down together and chose a selection of songs related to weddings that were special to us both from our past and in our future.

Our first song Let Me Be Your Wings, was performed at both at my Brother’s wedding to his husband Alex, and my Bridesmaid Ellie’s wedding to her husband Rory.

We then performed two Disney songs, Once Upon A Dream and A Whole New World. We had arranged for these songs to be played by our musician friends Maria and Jobine on Violin and Cello as we were to have walked down the aisle.

Followed by Love’s Philosophy: George’s Best Man Daniel was to create our wedding favours printing the poem by Percy B Shelley that Quilter used in this song onto artwork we had chosen. The next Two German songs are about dedication.  Schumann wrote Widmung as a wedding present for his wife Clara. A personal touch is that George played the Liszt arrangement of this piece for the processional walk at my brother’s wedding. We then performed Zueignung, by Strauss because it was the closing piece in our first duo program that we performed at the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary Competition back in 2013

Finally, Qui la Voce. Bellini wrote this beautiful aria for the character Elvira in his opera I Puritani, she has been driven to madness after her beloved abandons her on their wedding day. She dreams in the faster section of the aria of his voice and hopes that they will meet again and fulfill their wedding vows. Though George did not abandon me, I did find new resonance with this character and I can’t wait for our new wedding date! BRING IT ON!!

Little did we know, that our wonderful Neighbours had secretly arranged online a surprise for us after they had read, we were supposed to be married this weekend. On Friday morning we received a personal video compilation of messages and congratulations. We were so moved; I must admit I cried a little!

Then as we began to move our keyboard onto the balcony, we were moved to see a display of multi-colored bunting decorating over 25+ homes in our courtyard. One of our neighbours, Shannon came to the base of the balcony to greet us five minutes before our concert to explain that the bunting was for us and that our neighbours wanted to say thank you for performing to them over the past 11 weeks, they had also left a gift for our balcony outside our door and a bottle of champagne! I managed not to cry until after the set – although I did get a lump in my throat a couple of times, when I started swaying with a friend on his balcony making me smile, it was one the most difficult performance challenges to date. I couldn’t look at George for too long, in the worry that I might blub! I am so glad that we were able to film this concert and share it with you. I will remember this act of kindness forever.

I would also like to add a special thank you to our families and to all of our friends who have reached out with messages and sent us gifts to show their support and keep us in good spirits. We were so touched and felt so loved we can’t wait to celebrate with you all.

P.S Our Shoulda-Woulda-Wedding day started with a bang! After a friend of ours told our story to the BBC Radio 4 Today program we were invited to have a brief interview and sing live from our home to close their Saturday segment ahead of the 9am news headlines. We had brilliant fun setting up our Pop-Up recording studio equipped with microphones, two laptops, lots of wires, and three blankets hanging from the wall. We’d had a test run earlier in the week and using the iPhone/FaceTime meant the mike on the piano receded when I started singing so we learned a new trick to get the balance right.  Sadly, the song that we prepared only aired for 10 seconds but it was a brilliant experience and a great way to start our day and we had lots of lovely messages from teachers and friends we hadn’t seen in a while.

87 thoughts on “A Very Merry Unwedding to you, to us? To you…

  1. Your neighbours have me choked up here! How… beautiful!
    Your wedding may be postponed, but your love for each other is not!
    It is evident how much joy & support you get from each other. Through your balcony concerts, you are passing that on to others. Now, they have passed it back to you.

    It’s a wonderful thing.

    Now, you two are getting in a lot of music time together. Practice is making perfect.
    I adore all of the different themes you chose for your performances. Your future choices are growing.

    I just feel the two of you together have a special music flowing between the both, and out into the world. You are my fave soprano. Truly, you are the one I adore, and admire and listen to. Yes, now if someone posts opera, I do take the time to listen. That is a gift you have given me.

    Okay, cheers to both! YOU WILL BE MARRIED ONE DAY!!!!

    Resa
    ❦🎼❦

    1. Thank you Resa, your message was simply perfect, we never usually get this much time to practice and rehearse together, to be able to sing out for a new audience and test material we wouldn’t usually perform has been very enriching just singing and playing for the pure love of performing and making people happy.

      All my very best wishes
      Charlotte x

    1. Thank you Holly, we’re being as resourceful as possible 😊.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  2. So sorry that this special weekend was not to be for you both. I can only imagine how I would have felt if my wedding had had to be postponed, with no date in sight, and you can only go with the emotions, be they positive or negative or impossible to distinguish. Congratulations to your neighbours for everything they have done to make this something of an event for you, but every loving wish to you both that some way and time can be found for you to complete your pledges to each other. I am in no doubt that these formalities are not ‘necessary’ and the bonds you have already made between you are a marriage of hearts, but then again i needed nothing to be committed as I was to her, and the day was still the greatest one of my life. Be patient, and in the meantime, stay safe and stay sane.

    1. It turned out quite a special weekend and as my friend Emily pointed out just another event to celebrate every year with flowers hehe. The video message they all recorded for us was just so special. We have been obeying the lockdown being musicians we practice a lot indoors and alone anyway so we are kinda used to it but I miss my family and can’t wait for a visit and it would have been lovely to have a week with George’s family again.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  3. A wonderful unwedding concert 🙂 I hope the world is at a place where you can reschedule the wedding soon. Great that the neighbors showed their appreciation, but then, on the other hand, lucky them having neighbors such as you and George, sharing your talent with them in such a beautiful way!

    1. Thank you Trent, We are hoping to reschedule for the end of October if we can’t get some semblance of normality by then I really fear for our profession and all of the other businesses that are closed at the moment. I’m starting to think about how to make money from YouTube and how to grow alternative income streams because all government financial aid is due to end soon.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. I am sure it is really hard without live performances. There is Youtube, and more CDs and other things, but that’ not much. Anyway, good luck – I hope some sort of performance opportunities start up soon!

  4. Heard you both on Radio 4 just before 9am! So sorry your singing was cut short. Very sorry your wedding has been postponed but so many have had to face this including my lovely Goddaughter. Take care.

    1. Thanks for your message Wendy, I have a lot of friends that were getting married this year, we had to save up for two years and George wanted to be out of his postgraduate training otherwise we’d have had our ceremony last year. Fingers crossed your Goddaughter can set a new date soon.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  5. Dear Charlotte,

    As disappointing as I’m sure it is for you and George to have to postpone, that beautiful concert was a wonderful celebration of your love, and it was so lovely to see. I feel like saying congratulations anyway–in ancient Rome, your expression of committment today would have been considered a wedding ceremony, so maybe you can pretend this was a romantic elopement under ‘unprecedented circumstances’ (😊), prior to the wonderful family celebration I’m sure is still to come.

    God bless you both, now and for the many years you will share together.

    Lots of love,

    Cate

    1. Thank you, Cate, we did consider having just a registry office then the wedding party later but you could only have two other people there and had to keep physical distance from your witnesses and my parents couldn’t travel due to the travel restrictions like you say we already feel we made a commitment to each other ‘a romantic elopement under unprecedented circumstances’ is a perfect explanation of the weekend we just had.

      Love to you and all your family,

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Yes, both Mums went to a lot of trouble helping with lots of the reception preparations in both London and Iasi in Romania where our blessing was to be held this weekend and they really felt the postponement too. Let’s hope we can all celebrate soon.

      Best wishes to you Cindy,
      Charlotte x

  6. Dear Charlotte, please, don’t get upset! You have such a wonderful experience! Almost a double wedding! So you can celebrate the both dates: one is the dream wedding like Alice’s one; the second is real!

    Best wishes! Looking forwards for your decoration photos! Please, don’t forget!

    Maria 🙂

    1. I’m always one to look on the bright side and as you say just more anniversary dates to celebrate 😊. The decorations are all boxed up for now at my Mum’s home but I will put a memory jogger in my diary.

      All my best wishes Maria,
      Charlotte x

    1. Thank you Annette, I put on a nice blouse, George looked gorgeous and we made the best of the weekend, we even received gifts of cake and a bottle of Bollinger (never tried this before) so we were quite merry! 😊.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  7. While it’s a real pain to postpone your wedding, I think it’s a good idea. Friends of mine who got married at the beginning of May, and chose to do a Zoom wedding instead of postponing. The Zoom wedding ended up being a bit of a mess. It took three times longer to get everyone connected, and the sound working than it took for the ceremony. It was kind of sad. As Holly noted, and I have to keep saying, also, you two are an adorable couple. The selection of old picks is great. The concert was wonderful as always.

    1. Hi Timothy, For us, the wedding ceremony part was always to get those people that are the closest to us together to celebrate as much for their enjoyment as for ours. We’d organised a ceilidh band and disco for the evening to hopefully get everyone up and dancing.

      I’m really happy you enjoyed the concert.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. That’s why it’s good you are postponing your wedding. You want the celebration to be more than a formality. I understand where you are coming from. When Laurie and I got married in 1982, we did not send out invitations. We told people to tell people whoever wanted to celebrate our matrimony was welcome to come to our wedding. Around 400 people showed up.

  8. A person can’t help but smile seeing the two of you. Such wonderful lives you can share and celebrate for years to come. This experience alone will create the sort of stories told to your grandchildren! Congratulations Charlotte and George on a very merry un-wedding! And a beautiful concert!

    1. Thank you, GP. Opportunities come out of the blue, we’ve been asked to do a paid streamed concert which will pay our food bill for a couple of weeks so that’s good news this week, so it’s true that what you put out into the world you get the same energy back. Sometimes as a performer, it is good to feel these emotions so that you can use them in your work.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte x

    1. 06.06.2020 won’t be forgotten now as ‘Corona unwedding day’ 😊 George had better remember flowers each year like those he got me this year hehe. We spent hours replying to all the wonderful e-mails and messages people left for us it felt like a very special day.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  9. Merveilleux non-mariage !!!! félicitations et voeux de bonheurs absolu !!!!!
    Yes, very proud of You and very proud to be your friend !!!!!!
    Wish you the best dear Miss Rainbow voice and Mister Diamonds Fingers (George splits the music like a jeweler works precious stones, and he sparkles the notes)

    Avec toute mon amitié pour vous 2 !!!!!

    1. Merci beaucoup Pascal 😊. We were thinking of doing a French concert or Handel or maybe the Haugtussa this weekend, it has been a while since I sang the French so it may need more preparation time.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you, Darlene, I feel like we had a special weekend so that’s good, now we get another celebration day.

      Love to you
      Charlotte

  10. How wonderful, Charlotte and George. Your neighbors are very thoughtful. In times like these it is love that is important not a a wedding date. It will come as long as the love remains. All the best.

    1. I agree, John, we felt the love that night for sure people were so kind. It’s actually been very nice to spend nearly three months together as usually one or the other of us travels away from home a lot.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  11. It must have been disappointing for you two when it became clear that your wedding would have to be postponed, but you turned the date into a special and memorable occasion!
    P.S. I love the Alice photo!

    1. At first, Elisabeth, we were just worried about whether the hotel and other bookings like the suit hire and photographer would be willing to move the date but then the situation has gone much worse than we anticipated so we’re glad we postponed and just hope we’ve moved it far enough at the end of October.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  12. What a lovely post 🥰 you are such a fabulous couple doing fabulous things. Your wedding will also be fabulous and I can’t wait to see you both get married!🥰😘 thank you both for the wonderful concerts every week they are such a highlight to every Friday! 👏👏👏 lots of love always ❤️😘😘

    1. Thank you Gill, our love to you and Terry and all the family too. We’ll meet soon I hope. Stay well.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  13. The year when
    Some sang
    Some played
    Some decorated

    And building balconies
    Became opera house balconies
    Became theatre house balconies

    And distance, still distance
    Was not for piano, nor voice

  14. I’m glad that you and George are looking at this situation in a positive way and making the best of it. The both of you keep on giving a lot of people a good feeling and hope with your Balcony Concerts. Respect!
    Wishing you both all the best and a happy life!

    1. I always try to look at every set back in a positive way, things do like to swerve off my best-laid plans and things usually seem to turn out ok in the end 😊. Thank you for your kind wishes.

      Best wishes to you,
      Charlotte

  15. OMG! What an amazing day! I’m so glad you were loved and honored in this special moment. Marriage is a journey, so having the actual event happen later is part of the story. All the best to you and George. You landed a hottie! 🙂

    1. It was very special and we now have a couple of new trees on our balcony to grow as a reminder. I agree with you Michael it is all part of the journey and I think he’s cute too.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  16. Charlotte &George.
    I think Friday was my favourite concerts up to yet..
    We loved all of the songs you sang.
    What lovely neighbors you have, lovely community spirit.loved the photo’s..
    I hope it made postponing your wedding a little easier..😘😘💐👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

    1. Hi, hope you are both well this week and keeping your spirits up. Glad you enjoyed the song choices. People are usually so busy in London and there is so much to do that I guess it is nice (without thinking about the terrifying aspects of this virus!) that people hit pause for a few weeks to just spend time at home and build on that.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  17. Lovely, Charlotte, and I think the response to your efforts for the past 11 weeks is quite moving to me, so I am sure you and George were touched. Until better days, keep singing your songs – making sweet music together.

    1. We’re both doing some sales work and George a bit of teaching so to be able to get back on to our music with a deadline has been an essential lifeline for us, we are hoping we can choose the best of the songs we’re working through to create a balcony concert CD as a nice reminder and hopefully it would bring a bit of income in from our music.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  18. Darn, I teared up on reading your post, Charlotte. In one way it is a heck of a way to have to start an unmarriage off, and in another, it’s only the love between you George that counts.
    Congratulations and Best Wishes on your unmarriage and your upcoming marriage.

    1. Thank you Don, we’re fine, we had a weekend off work at least. I’m a bit sad we’re not in Venice at the moment on our way to Romania though hehe 😊. Let’s just hope this Covid lockdown ends as soon as possible so people can start getting back to normal.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  19. Dear Charlotte and George, we have just sat down and watched this lovely concert in full (we tried on Friday, but reception just wouldn’t work – so glad you recorded it). I was in tears by the end too, thinking of all your dreams put on hold. The Schumann was beautiful and watching George silently singing along too was very moving. The Bellini was superb and full of feeling, I hope you use this aria for competitions in the future, I think it suits you so well. These two would certainly be on our list for your recording plans. Have you thought about a sentimental Victorian evening? with old favourites like Ombra mai fu, Lascia ch’io pianga, There’s no place like home etc. W will try and locate your BBC 4 interview, Edwin must have missed it by minutes! You both really deserve the warm reception you are getting from your community.

    1. We’ve ordered a booster for our internet so fingers crossed it works better on Friday. We had a lovely weekend, we put work on hold, ate cake friends made for us and drank some champagne (not usual for me so I got quite merry with one glass). We’re going to do a Handel and Mozart program next I think, I’ve not sung Lascia ch’io pianga for years (it’s a lovely song), I must refresh it but I don’t think I’ll have time this week, this balcony concert is forcing me to revisit old songs as well as make time for new repertoire I’ve got in my schedule to learn. I’d like to do the Haugtussa cycle by Grieg as a full program I need to find a way to make it work for everyone to understand the story.

      Best wishes to you and Edwin,
      Charlotte

  20. Charlotte dear, I am so sorry your wedding has been postponed, but what a lovely way to celebrate what would have been. And it will be even more special when the real wedding day comes. You have made good friends amongst your neighbors over the weeks with your singing and playing and I’m so glad they chose to give a little back and help you celebrate the un-wedding! Your concert gave me goosebumps! Never stop singing! And kudos to George’s wonderful accompaniment. You will be out and about together soon. Have faith!

    1. We had a lovely weekend Noelle, missed seeing our families but we kept getting gifts and flowers delivered and lots of lovely messages, I heard from people that had heard us on the radio that I’ve not spoken to for years and our teachers and people I’ve had masterclasses with from years ago so it was amazing.

      When my neighbours made us a little video it was so special and made us feel just lovely we were both emotional. On the evening of the concert, a light drizzle of rain started coming down so we thought we’d best crack on quickly so everyone didn’t get soaked. Thank you we’re keeping faith.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you Katy, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a penciled in October 31st, got to keep the faith.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you, we have enjoyed the extra time together and working on our duo programs, we’ve even had a little booking come out of it to stream a 45-minute concert.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte x

  21. What a lovely post, Charlotte, and your neighbors are so thoughtful. I’m sorry about postponing your wedding, but you both make a beautiful couple and that big day will come soon. Surreal times that no one anticipated. I’ll add that my daughter and her fiance were in the same boat. They have been together for 9 years (now in their late twenties), engaged for almost 2. So, they decided to do a zoom wedding with family and close friends. They didn’t want to wait until sometime next year; they were ready for the next step. Everyone understood, and surprisingly, the ceremony was beautiful and went smoothly. No tech glitches. Definitely a memorable day! So they’re official and we couldn’t be happier for them. But, when it is safe to throw a party, we’ll have a reception and replay, so that’s something to look forward to. Anyway, wishing you both the very best and loved the concert, as always. Lauren xo

    1. Hello Lauren, Thank you for sharing the success of your daughter’s zoom wedding! How wonderful that they were able to get married and make it special – that gives me hope in case social gatherings do not improve.

      I love the idea about watching the zoom ceremony back and then having a party to celebrate with loved ones. I hope their marriage is filled with love and many happy years to come.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

      1. Thank you for your wishes, Charlotte, and I can’t wait to hear about your special day too. And thank you for sharing your beautiful gift of singing. xo

  22. Your neighbors are awesome. I’m sorry you and George had to push back your wedding date, but I have no doubt that it will be a lovely and memorable day when you finally do get to tie the knot. 🙂

    1. Fabulous people here we’ve loved getting to know them better – the power of music. I’ve pushed the UK wedding back to the end of October this year, we haven’t got a date for Romania yet and I really hope this is delayed enough a couple of guests have told me they won’t be coming because they think it is too soon! We had to box off two weeks and this stops you from applying for lots of work because that conflicts with rehearsals etc.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  23. I am listening to your concert, and enjoying it very much, Charlotte and George! You have a wonderful neighborhood of supporters, too. There were a few benefits to lockdown, one of them being able to hear you every week in these concerts, even though I am far away across the sea! Those are also beautiful photos of you two from over the years.

    I am sorry about the wedding date postponement. It will be all the sweeter when it happens. Know that we all love you both, and wish you much happiness and success on the road of life.

  24. I keep telling people that “Sleeping Beauty” is the greatest Disney film of all-time and most people yell at me. 🙂 ..but after listening to you both perform the Song I finally get to say I TOLD YOU! I TOLD ALL YALL! Best. Ever. Hmm. I feel better. Thank you Charlotte and George for helping me prove my theory was correct. 🙂

    ..as for the Wedding delay, I am so sorry. ..and you can’t link Qui la Voce with your Wedding Day. That Story was depressing. How could you leave someone on your own Wedding Day? Un-Constitutional. Pretty sure. I’m gonna scribble that part out of this blog. 🙂

    Anyway, I’m glad that you and George are emerging as a new Power Couple in the U.K. Bravo! Cheers!

    1. I absolutely agree Eric I love Sleeping Beauty my Mum told me off for not singing the ah ha ah ah that we used to join in with hehe.
      Haha

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  25. Hi Charlotte. Sorry for the ‘absence’ but I was in hospital for a week being drip fed with a strong antibiotic then, so far, 5 days recovering at home (pill antibiotics). Not Covid-19. My attention span is improving but still only about 25 secs.
    I may comment on your ‘concerts’ later when I have time to listen in detail and attention span improved but I must tell you I prefer you singing opera (and English folk songs). I’m not a fan of any modern musicals (even Renee Fleming leaves me cold when attempting them!). I do like a lot Oscar & Hammerstein but for me any musicals need those harsh American voices!

    1. Sorry to hear you’ve been poorly Roger, I hope Petronella is well. This weeks concert was just Mozart and Handel arias I know quite well as we were busy on office sales work last week and I just felt lethargic all week just feeling like I could have done with a week off in Venice and Iasi as originally planned maybe. I should have practiced a bit more as I’ve been doing lots of language homework work and my English vowels were a bit off on Endless Pleasure.

      It should have been our Romanian church blessing and reception today but I believe it is thundering and raining over there right now.

      Don’t you like any Bernstein or Sondheim? The two disciplines are very different and with musical theatre you usually get a microphone which I don’t have so those low notes are a challenge but I love Doris Day and especially Secret Love. I hope you like it when you hear it 😊.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. I should have expressed myself better Charlotte. It’s odd you should mention Bernstein and Sondheim; the last musicals I really enjoyed were West Side Story along with Lionel Bart’s Oliver but I saw those on the stage (which for me is where they belong) at about the time they were written. Bernstein for me stands among the great ‘classical’ composers. I’m looking forward to hearing your Mozart and Handel concert.

  26. I know quite a few people who had to cancel or postpone their weddings. I feel for you. What lovely neighbours you have, it’s always nice to feel appreciated and I think your weekly performances help a lot of people cope with the changes we are all facing. Thank you xx

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