It was wonderful to be back at @theoldhall in Ely at the end of July, our first time back since before the first lockdown! We couldn’t resist taking a few snaps of the outdoor ceremony area and grounds – just beautiful!
The Bride asked us to learn a new song for her entrance music, Latch by Sam Smith, we played A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, Perfect by Ed Sheeran and You Are the Reason by Callum Scott for the Signing of the Register and then we played them out to This Will Be Everlasting Love by Natalie Cole. They stopped halfway back up the aisle for a quick group photo and the Bride and Groom couldn’t help having a quick dance to our music. Congratulations guys!
When we first heard this song, we felt an instant connection to the music and lyrics. We felt it was such an emotional song, with many of the lyrics being applicable to the current situation. Immediately we wanted to reach out and connect with all of those individuals who are struggling at the moment; aren’t we all in some way holding on ’til the afterglow? So, as musicians who are stuck at home, we decided to reach out in one of the only ways we can at the moment: by playing, recording & videoing the song. With such luscious harmonies (which lend themselves very well to the violin & cello) it was the perfect song for us to explore further our layered recordings. When making the video we thought it might be interesting to include some clips from ‘behind the scenes’, showing more of our process and how we put the track together with all of the different parts. Also, a debut for our green screen – yay! 😁
We have to talk about how the pandemic has affected the mental health and well-being of Musicians, Creatives and Artists everywhere.
Those of you who know us well know that we strive to be happy, positive people whose goal in life is to spread happiness and positivity through our music. It’s what we do. It’s also worth noting that when things get tough, we are always looking for the silver lining. We always make the most of our lot and, despite everything, have experienced some amazing things in the past few months. We are so fortunate that the vast majority of our clients and fans have been incredible. Thank you all for being supportive in so many ways:
It was deeply touching to receive messages of support from future wedding clients; offering to pay some or all of our fee in advance just to help out (three years in advance in one case). Probably most impressive are those clients that have fought insurance companies tooth and nail to try to get them to pay out the cancellation fees that we should have charged them when they had to move their weddings.
From a musical perspective, creativity and innovation have an incredible way of popping up in the most unexpected places. In some ways, being forced to stop working in the way we usually do has allowed us to grow as musicians and develop our art in a way that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. We have had to explore social media and live streams in a way that we had been scared to do before. Our fundamental need to create music and perform to people in whatever way we can lead us to creating music in different ways, including making videos and refining how we record in our little home studio.
Some truly amazing things have risen from the adversity we’ve faced.
However, one thing we have had no control over and that has caused us months of anxiety and dark thoughts, is the systematic devaluation of the arts, seemingly endorsed by the government. We have experienced the effects of this directly, and we’re starting to see it more and more in the way people treat us.
A small but increasing minority of the people we have interacted with professionally over the past few months have lashed out at us. We have received some toxic and aggressive messages and a few actual threats. Perhaps worse, some have had an expectation that we will do things for free or a pittance, because ‘we have a lot of free time on our hands at the moment’.
Everyone is hurting right now, and we get that, honestly, we really do. And, most of the time, we don’t blame people, everyone needs to vent sometimes.
What we can’t bear, however, is the growing sense that what we do is not valued. As Musicians, Creatives and Artists, we have been told that we’re not essential and we’ve been told to “retrain”. Most importantly, the support offered hasn’t been enough.
The insidious message that Creatives don’t have value is incredibly dangerous. So many artists suffer from mental health problems and anxiety at the best of times. We have been extremely lucky, with savings and the support of our friends and family to fall back on, but we know so many incredible musicians that have had to give up perfecting their art because they don’t have that support.
We didn’t want to write about this because we always try to be positive and make the most of our situation. But we concluded that it’s too important for us to stand by and do nothing. Not just for ourselves, but for our fellow Creatives.
Our life’s work as Musicians isn’t just a job, it is a fundamental part of who we are. We cannot change that.
Thank you for reading. It sometimes feels like we are screaming into a crowded room. However, we know that if you’re reading this, you’re probably ‘one of the supportive ones’ and we’re preaching to the proverbial choir!
So thank you. Keep listening to music and appreciating the arts in all its forms.
Lots of love 💕
Jaya Hanley (Violinist) and Sarah James (Cellist) of The Chapel Hill Duo.
(N.B. Not carpet fitters, copy editors or blacksmiths…)
🌈🌈🌈 We’re very excited to share this track which we recorded for a client in America! 😃 She commissioned us to record an acoustic version of the song she wants to walk down the aisle to (it’s also a surprise for her other half!) ❤️ It’s a full, layered, studio version, so slightly different to our ‘live’ sound, but everything you hear was created by us on a violin, cello & electric cello.
Feeling a bit emotional 🥰 Thank you Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber for this amazing song 🙏 Times are difficult and it’s even more important to focus on the positive things in life. We feel incredibly privileged to be able to spend the time ‘stuck’ together making music 🎶
It’s hard work for musicians and other creatives right now, aside from the difficulties caused by losing most of our income, we thrive on performing to audiences and making people happy – it’s one of the things that drives us, and it’s been taken away. BUT, continuing to make music together is keeping us going, and we hope to bring a little happiness to others in the process! 😊
So, do us a favour and give our video a share. Send it to your friends, send it to your family, send it to any key workers you know to brighten their day. Stay safe everyone, we’ll get through this ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜💖
For any brides and grooms struggling to think of music for their big day, we think this could be a really special choice. We can see a lot of brides walking down the aisle to this in the future, it would make amazing entrance music or even a great first dance song.
This week has certainly been quieter than the last, but by no means less exciting. The one Wedding we played at took place at The Knights Hill Hotel near Kings Lynn, we were booked to play during the Wedding Breakfast and as evening guests arrived.
This is the first in a new series of blog posts where we will talk about our day-to-day lives as The Chapel Hill Duo. We will cover everything from our work at Weddings and other events to the joys and difficulties of being professional musicians living in rural Lincolnshire.
When it comes to the entrance of the Bridal Party, we firmly believe that, if possible, the couple should choose a song that is special to them. Perhaps it’s a song that they heard when they first met or the first song they danced to, or perhaps they can relate to the lyrics (take “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, we’re sure all couples can relate to that one!). Maybe they just both really like the song!
Whatever the reason, you can be sure that there
won’t be a dry eye in the room, because everyone will know that this song is
We quite often get asked this question, along with ‘when do you play music during the ceremony?’ and ‘what order do they do things in?’, and now that we are planning our own Wedding we’ve realised that even with a Civil Wedding Ceremony (i.e. not a Church Wedding) there are so many different things to consider that it can be quite daunting! So, we thought it would be worth doing a very basic blog post explaining just exactly how things go down, in chronological order, during a Civil Wedding Ceremony – it’s not quite as confusing as you might think! We will also talk about where the music usually fits in as well.
As professional musicians part of our job is travelling, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot! Last week we covered about 500 miles in 4 days, which definitely falls into the ‘a lot’ category! It was worth it however, to play at 3 beautiful and wonderfully unique weddings. The theme for the week was really strong winds, making travelling and playing tricky at times. It was funny, however, as our third couple of the week were Mr & Mrs Gale!