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Marriage in the Catholic Church is a celebration of love that reflects God’s infinite love for us poured out in Jesus Christ. Music used during the marriage ceremony should reflect the sacredness and fidelity of Matrimony in a manner that is dignified and prayerful, and glorifies God within the guidelines of the Catholic Church. Liturgical music is based in scripture and draws the couple deeper into their sacramental union in Christ. Music must be played and sung live; we do not permit recorded music. Selections must be classical in nature or from our hymnal (GIA's Gather 3). We do not permit music that is secular in nature; the reception is the appropriate venue for secular music.
The sung prayer of the assembly is considered the highest form of liturgical music, and is the goal of our music ministry. Hymns and responses offer praise and thanksgiving on this joyous occasion and ask God’s continued blessing upon the couple and all of us. It is appropriate for everyone to sing certain parts of the Mass such as the Alleluia, the Holy, the Mystery of Faith and the Amen.
Many topics are covered during our Marriage Preparation Sessions, one of which is music. For those who live out of town and are unable to attend one of these sessions, the Director of Music will discuss music individually with you, either via phone or email. This discussion should happen after you have consulted with the Director of Liturgy. However, questions about music sometimes arise earlier. Should any occur, please feel free to contact the Director of Music.
Care is taken that vocalists and instrumentalists are integrated into the ceremony as a means to support to the sung prayer of the assembly and the dignity of the sacrament being celebrated.
Music for weddings at Gesu is similar in nature to that of our Sunday Liturgies, and in keeping with the Gothic design of our Church, music at the parish originates in the choir loft with the pipe organ as the primary instrument. The organ plays at every wedding, either alone or in ensemble with other instruments and singers in the choir loft. There is no additional fee required for our organist.
We provide a cantor to help lead the sung prayer at your marriage ceremony. Our cantors are professionally trained and have sung numerous times at Gesu. We generally permit family members or friends of the couple to help with this leadership. Please check with the Director of Music for details. Singers are located in the choir gallery along with the pipe organ and any other musicians.
Gesu's Director of Music is able to make arrangements with excellent and experienced instrumentalists if these are desired. Couples must consult with the Director of Music before making musical plans or arrangements with outside musicians.
Some couples are interested in hiring a string or brass ensemble for their marriage ceremony. While there are many fine ensembles, hiring one for the church may not have quite the desired effect. A more effective alternative for instance, might be to hire a string ensemble to play during the dinner hour at the reception.
The prelude time before the wedding is a great time for a brass or string ensemble to play, however, in our observation, most guests arrive at the church ten minutes or less before the wedding. Many use that time to greet relatives and friends they haven’t seen “since the last wedding,” and the couples themselves are usually so absorbed with preparations and “in the moment” right before the wedding that the prelude generally passes right by them. An ensemble would be nice for the processional, and this is probably the time they’d be most noticed, although everyone’s attention will be focused on the procession down the aisle. They could play something short during the Presentation of the Gifts, which lasts approximately two minutes. The recessional is usually accompanied by a bit of applause, and once the wedding party is down the aisle, guests typically leave the building. There is no receiving line at the church, so it empties quickly, usually in under five minutes. Organ and cantor will lead the assembly in singing the rest of the music.