Tough Day at the Office: Musings of a San Diego Guitarist –July/August Weddings

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged about my wedding performances so here is a combined effort from the last four. Each was unique and as always great people to play for! Congrats and best to you all!

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One of the cool things about teaching and performing so long in San Diego is building up a clientele which become more like friends. Here’s a brief back story behind a recent July wedding…

I had been teaching a student for a few years when her uncle got married and they asked my guitar duo to play for the wedding which we did. A year or so later this super sweet guitar student of mine passed away. With a heavy heart I played for her memorial. This recent July wedding was another chance to play for the family…I’m always honored to play multiple events for my clients!

This wedding was also unique as I got to perform with two outstanding singers. One was an opera singer and the sister of my previously mentioned student and the other a family friend who sings musical theater. It was a pleasure to work with them both and their contrasting styles and talents.

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So I got an email in July asking if I was available to play a wedding…koto, violin and guitar.  First thing I thought was “that sounds interesting” and immediately jumped on the chance to play with some new musicians and a unique ensemble. Plus I always enjoy playing at Loews Coronado resort one of San Diego’s incredible wedding venues.

If you don’t know, the koto is a Japanese instrument kind of like a harp that lays flat. The sound is truly amazing and I found myself listening attentively during our performance.

We played a mix of typical classical wedding pieces, as well as, western pop for the cocktail hour. Personally I would have loved to play some traditional Japanese music to bring out the koto’s personality.   No rehearsals and it went great! I look forward to playing with this ensemble again.

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Looking for a great wedding venue in San Diego? Recently, I found an amazing somewhat unknown spot in Balboa Park’s Administrative Courtyard. The venue is really beautiful, located in Balboa park and has views of the downtown skyline, Coronado and other parts of Balboa Park. In addition to all these attributes the courtyard is located on the east side of Park Blvd. which makes for easy access and parking not afforded at some of the Park’s more popular locations.

Great couple too! Good luck to you both on your move across the country!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seagrove Park in Del Mar is always a great wedding venue and with temps around the county reaching the high 90’s and 100’s I was really looking forward to playing atop the bluffs overlooking the Pacific! …then cocktails at the Del Mar Hilton adjacent to the Del Mar Racetrack/Fairgrounds.

The couple had some special requests for their ceremony music. I learned “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel and Andrea Bocelli’s, “Con Te Partiro” or in English “Time to Say Goodbye” which will definitely be added to my wedding repertoire.

Booking this wedding was a little different as I did not work with the bride and groom at all. I was contracted through a New York DJ and party planner who I hope to work with again…maybe in the Big Apple next time! Thanks Martin!

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Coincidentally, two of these events I got to work with the good folks at GD Productions. It is amazing to be playing guitar for so long in San Diego and then back to back weekends work with the same vendor who I had never worked with before…check them out for all your party needs!

Well that’s it in a nutshell …the last month of guitar and weddings in Sunny San Diego.

Click here for previous wedding posts!

Flamenco vs. Flamingo (Guitar or Birds San Diego is Your Place)

Flamenco Guitarist Paco de Lucia
Flamenco Guitarist Paco de Lucia

San Diego is a great town for flamenco guitar. It’s proximity to Mexico, it’s rich Spanish Mission history, Spanish style architecture throughout the community and warm Mediterranean type climate make it a perfect match for the Iberian music.

As a guitarist, I play weddings and events throughout the region and flamenco truly pairs perfectly with our Latin infused city. Both traditional and nova styles of flamenco blend flawlessly with outdoor venues along the Pacific coast, Balboa Park and in so many of the great Mexican restaurants in San Diego.

Another amazing feature of San Diego is the ‘World Famous San Diego Zoo’

Flamingo Guitar by Bernie Lehmann
Flamingo Guitar by Bernie Lehmann

What an amazing place this is, a must see if you’ve never been. Here you will find beautiful weather and animals ranging from polar bears to pandas and every type of animal in-between including flamingos.

Herein lies a play on words not easily detected by the uninitiated. I am often asked if I can play flamingo guitar?? Do they want me to stand on one leg? Eat shrimp? Wear pink? Well so far this has never been the case…although I like shrimp and my daughter would love for me to wear an all pink outfit…

Nope, I just take it in stride and assume they have made the ever popular inadvertent mistake of transposing the words Flamenco and Flamingo and their true intention is Flamenco!! So far I haven’t been wrong and shown up to a flamenco guitar event where I was expected to wear pink, although sometimes they do serve shrimp.

However you pronounce it flamenco is an incredible form of music from Spain with Middle Eastern influences. It is a music rich in tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation. Great masters of the traditional style include Sabicas and Montoya to Paco de Lucia still with all the great technique in a more contemporary style. Then there is the modern flamenco ‘nova’ style with artists like the Gypsy Kings, Ottmar Liebert and Strunz & Farah bringing flamenco to even more listeners throughout the world. Make sure you give a listen to all the styles below

Remember to ask FLAMENCO for guitar music and FLAMINGO for the zoo!!! Either way San Diego is your city!

Sabicas

Paco de Lucia

Gypsy Kings

Flamingos