To some of you, choosing your ceremony music will be a walk in the park. You have been dreaming of your big day for a long time and every detail carefully thought out, even down to the crease in the napkins at the dinner table. For others it can be a daunting task, there is a plethora of music out there and how do you know what is suitable and what isn’t? Help is at hand. Alongside liaising with your ceremony musicians. I am putting together a series of blogs/YouTube videos to help you choose music for each section of the Ceremony. I will focus on a traditional Catholic service, but certain parts do share their place with other forms of ceremony.
So as I have a YouTube video to share, I thought I might discuss the importance of the Psalm and the readings that you choose for your ceremony. Introducing ‘On Eagle’s Wings’. Probably the most popular Psalm chosen for Weddings and Funerals, no doubt you have heard it at a ceremony near you, but perhaps not? This is so popular I have 3 recordings of me singing it in different arrangements, two of which are on YouTube and I am wearing the same dress ????♀️ (I had best start shopping for a new wardrobe! ????) The one I wish to share with you today is the recent Weddingduo.ie addition.
A Reflective moment…
It’s not the only Psalm out there and some purists would argue that it isn’t really a good choice for a wedding. I dunno, it has to be a good choice if everyone is choosing it? So how do you choose your readings? The readings are an important part of the day. Like music, they are a form of reflection for those attending the service, and can leave us with food for thought. We all know the reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians about what Love is? How appropriate for a ceremony that is all about the love and union of two people? If the music is the soundtrack to your day, then the readings could be seen as the monologues in the drama. So again keep it all in context. Your priest will give you ideas of liturgical readings to use and many have poignant messages.
What is a Psalm?
So a Psalm by definition is a ‘sacred song’ (Collins Gem English Dictionary 1999). Traditionally they are sung by a cantor with the congregation joining in on the chorus and I have experienced this at weddings, but in the modern day it usually is sung by a soloist or just read by a guest (yup, you don’t HAVE to have the Psalm sung). They generally have a short and simple chorus with a more complex chant or melody for the verses. So keeping this in mind having a song like ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ just isn’t appropriate for the Liturgy of the Word. If you really want it then I suggest keeping it to the Signing of the Register. That said if you’re having a Humanist Ceremony where you might have a reflective song between readings then work away! Aside from ‘On Eagles Wings’ ideas for the Psalm include: ‘Lord is My Shepherd’, ‘Hiding Place’, ‘The Lord fills the Earth with his love’, ‘Let all Praise the name of the Lord’, ‘How Can I repay the Lord?’. Some priests may allow a regular hymn instead so an idea here might be ‘Here I am Lord’ or ‘Be Not Afraid’.
So until I get round to putting together my video dedicated to choosing your psalm, I leave you with ‘On Eagle’s Wings’ to enjoy. If you have any suggestions for other Psalms to include, or a specific section of the Ceremony that you would like covered please leave a comment or drop me a message.