‘Son of a Preacher Man’ most unusual choice

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 13, 2010

John Beasley played for his first wedding when he was 16. He said he actually pre-recorded the music for his cousin, who wanted 30 minutes of music before the wedding.

“It took me eight hours because every time I messed up I started over,” he said, adding that the reel-to-reel recorder weighed 80 pounds.

The music included “Because,” “I Love You Truly,” “O Promise Me,” and “Whither Thou Goest.”

“Music selections have changed unbelievably,” he said, adding that music used in movies often influence wedding music choices.

Sometimes, the church dictates what music can be used, he said.

“At First Baptist, when Don Lingle was the music director, he had to approve all of the music,” Beasley said. “We Methodists allow most anything.”

The Episcopal Church, where Beasley also serves as organist, allows everything except the music commonly known as “Here Comes the Bride.”

The wedding march is from the opera Lohengrin, by composer Richard Wagner. Many churches don’t allow the music to be used because of Wagner’s well-documented and public reputation as an anti-Semite.

Beasley said one of the most extreme choices in music he’s observed was at a family wedding. For a while, he said, it appeared there would be no music at the wedding. But 30 minutes prior to the ceremony, a CD was played.

“My brother-in-law, who is a Baptist preacher, was performing the wedding,” Beasley said. “For the recessional they played ‘Son of a Preacher Man.’ ”

He said another wedding included extremes in musical selections.

“They had ‘Jesus Loves Me” and “The Lord’s Prayer’ with piano and cello,” he said. For the entrance of the bridal party they used “Going to the Chapel.”