Category: Planning & Etiquette
Emily Jumes of the Fredricksburg Harp Studio is a young, up-and-coming harpist who has perhaps already arrived. With an early start at 5 years old, she has emerged as a talented musician and composer in Central Texas. Jumes charms wedding guests and concertgoers alike with both masterful classics and playful modern pieces – also fitting for weddings of any style.
We had the chance to visit with her about the magic of this timeless instrument – and what makes the harp such a perfect match for weddings. Here’s what she had to say.
Q: What do you love about wedding-related events?
A: I love being part of people’s special day. I enjoy meeting couples, hearing their stories, and learning the songs that are significant to them. There is so much to celebrate at a wedding, and it is thrilling for me to add to the celebration with harp music. Many people have never heard the harp live before, and it is a sweet thing to be able to bring my favorite instrument into their lives, and perhaps even inspire them.
Q: What do you think live music, especially the harp, adds to the event?
A: Live music embellishes and makes it even more memorable for the guests as well as the wedding party. Harp music adds elegance, and guarantees an unforgettable celebration.
Q: What would surprise people about harp music?
A: I think people would be surprised to know the harp is multifaceted. It can render classical and contemporary music alike – with tones that are soothing and therapeutic but also remarkably vibrant. The harp is an instrument that people rarely see outside the symphony. For that reason, a harpist adds a momentous effect to any wedding.
The harp is also really adaptable. Harp can be played indoors or outdoors, and can flexibly accompany voice or other instruments. Solo harp can also compete with the resonance of a string quartet or even a small jazz band without the additional expense of multiple players. The harp is a timeless instrument, always capable of creating a romantic ambiance.
Q: What is your favorite song to play?
A: I have so many favorites, but one that stands out is “Seguidilla” by Carlos Salzedo. I love this piece because it was well written for harp, but it also captures the flair and rhythm appropriate to the Spanish dance. Dance music in general is fun on harp, but I particularly enjoy playing the Spanish style.
Q: What are some songs, from different genres, you’ve enjoyed playing at weddings?
A: I play a variety of genres, and five songs I enjoy playing are:
- Pachabel’s “Canon in D” (Classical)
- “Marry Me” by Train (Pop)
- “Amazing Grace” (Sacred)
- “The Water Is Wide” (Celtic)
- “Moon River” (Jazz Standard)
Q: What is your style as a musician?
A: My style as a musician reflects the influences of multiple cultures and genres, notably the German heritage of Fredericksburg and the Spanish roots of Texas. I also bring my background in classical harp and the visionary influence of the Fredericksburg Chorale. Much of my repertoire is original or improvised. In my playing, I aim to bring a flair of originality that demonstrates the versatility of the harp and the joy of life-giving music.
Q: What are some trends you are noticing in wedding music selection?
A: I’d say some couples prefer to stick with very classic wedding repertoire. People trying to stick with classics most often request Pachabel’s Canon, Bach’s “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring,” and the two Wedding marches.
I also see more and more couples wanting to experiment with contemporary music. There are a number of standards that I am repeatedly asked for:
- “Moon River” (Henry Mancini)
- “What a Wonderful World” (Louis Armstrong)
- “A Thousand Years” (Christina Perri)
- “I’m Yours” (Jason Mraz)
- “All of Me” (John Legend)
- “Marry Me” (Train)
- “Can you Feel the Love Tonight” (Elton John)
- “All I Ask of You” (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
Occasionally brides will ask for something I have never heard, and just recently I played a country love song that had not ever, to my knowledge, been performed on harp before.
Q: What is your advice for people hoping to book you for their wedding?
A: Live music provides the flexibility for a couple to dream big. Whether they envision black-tie extravagant or small-scale rustic, I am able to don my formal shoes or cowgirl boots, and adapt my music to the appropriate mood. There are different harps for different occasions, and no end to the possibilities!