Harpist Sam MacAdam Shares Some Notes

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Supplier Takeover: Sam MacAdam Harp
Est. 2011 │ Location: Glasgow (available to travel)
We caught up with harpist Sam MacAdam to chat all things wedding music, including some of the most popular harp song requests, some advice for brides and grooms to be and the best thing about being part of a wedding ceremony. As well as a talented harpist, Sam is a member of Scottish Ceilidh band the Sleekit Beasties. Sam is based in Glasgow but travels to cover weddings across Scotland and Northern England.

What makes your service unique?
I love playing the harp for couples, and I love helping make the day exactly as people envision it. Everything about my service is completely custom – from your magical bridal entrance, to the atmosphere of the drinks reception. I try to match the tone of the day with song choices from my extensive repertoire and love learning new requests for the ceremony itself.
I studied both traditional Scottish clarsach and classical pedal harp at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where I achieved a first class Honours degree in music performance. This, along with 8 years of performing in a pop/ceilidh band means that my musical interests are wide and varied and I can help realise your vision for the day.

How did you get into the wedding industry?
Playing the harp, you quickly find that your friends and loved ones request you to play at their weddings – which I absolutely love! That was how I found myself playing at my first wedding, and from then on I was hooked.
I’m doing the same thing to my friend – she’s playing at my wedding (which was meant to be just  7 weeks away and now is in another 111 weeks…) and it’ll be extra special having her play me down the aisle.

Favourite part of your job?
I really love learning people’s new requests. From famous songs which I can make sound exactly like the track (but…harpy) to obscure B sides which I have to painstakingly transcribe from half forgotten youtube recordings. It sounds silly, but there’s nothing better than having the couple come up to me afterwards and tell me ‘You got that spot on! That’s even better than I dreamed of’.
I also really love the process pre-wedding, I feel like I get a sneak peek into the day itself. You see the groom and groomsmen excitedly/nervously check everything’s in place, hear their run throughs with their celebrant/humanist/minister, see incredibly proud parents take pictures of the ceremony room before everything starts. I feel so incredibly honoured to be invited in for couples’ intimate moments – and it’s hard not to feel so incredibly full of love after a day at a wedding.

Choosing the aisle music...
This piece of music really sets the tone for the whole wedding. Is it formal, upbeat, lighthearted, modern?

It needs to be something that you feel confident walking down to, that makes you feel like a million dollars, and also something quite slow and calming so that you can take your time on your entrance. As long as the speed is spot on (and I often chat with brides before hand to discuss the final speed as sometimes a fast song can be slowed down to make it easier to walk to) then it can be absolutely anything.

All genres work well, so here's a selection of five of my favourite songs to play (and some of the most popular choices) spanning Classical, Traditional Scottish, Pop, and Disney.
  1. Pachabel's Canon
  2. Now I See The Light
  3. Highland Cathedral
  4. Here Comes The Sun
  5. Perfect
  6. And a cheeky sixth choice of 'Will ye Go, Lassie, Go?' which is what I chose for my August wedding (although I might change my mind by the rescheduled date!)
Are there any harp music trends we should look out for?
In terms of music, there’s definitely songs that cycle in and out of fashion. Lately there’s been a resurgence of ‘traditional’ wedding songs – Highland Cathedral, Pachabel’s Canon, the Mendelssohn wedding march. Last year the trend was for pop and Disney covers on the harp, and the tone of weddings this year seemed slightly more formal. Who knows what it will be like when we start up again!

Best piece of advice for couples currently planning their wedding...
If your wedding has been postponed it’s so hard sometimes to just keep the excitement going. It’s OK to take a break. It’s OK to put the planning to the side. If you haven’t managed to keep all your original suppliers for your rescheduled date then that will be OK. It’s a really tough time right now for everyone, don’t beat yourself up with wedding stress on top of it – there’ll be time for that later.
Everything on the day will be beautiful – you’ll have your friends and family and your new husband/wife and I think we’ll all be so excited and happy for weddings when they’re allowed to happen – and being with so many special people will be even more meaningful than before. 

Prices start from £250 - Sam's pricing is about to undergo a restructuring but any bookings made before October 2020 will honour the current prices.

From Brides, With Love xo

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