A Nice Riff on Love
In early October, Priscilla Maria Page and Glenn Steven Siegel watched the jazz saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase lead a band outdoors, where the musicians’ notes cut through fall air. The location of the concert, by a creek outside the Institute for the Musical Arts in Goshen, Mass., was one that Ms. Page and Mr. Siegel had selected: The performance was the latest in a long line of jazz shows that the couple has organized in the region. So it’s natural that when, during the concert, Ms. Page and Mr. Siegel noticed a pair of gnarled apple tree stumps sitting a modest stage length’s apart from each other, they couldn’t help but do a little location scouting.
“We thought, actually, those two stumps would make a nice frame,” Ms. Page said.
The performance they wanted to stage there? Their wedding ceremony.
Ms. Page, 42, a senior lecturer in theater at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Mr. Siegel, 66, a jazz producer who recently retired from the university’s Fine Arts Center, produce several concerts a season through Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares, a nonprofit they founded together. When they decided to get married this year, they chose to forgo a wedding planner. Why would they need one? They’ve been collaborating on events since before their first date.
Mr. Siegel and Ms. Page first got to know each other in 2004. At the time, Mr. Siegel was coordinating a residency by the jazz pianist Vijay Iyer and the poet and spoken-word artist Mike Ladd. Ms. Page, a stranger to jazz by comparison but an expert in live performance, was enlisted to help organize it. As they started working together, the pair’s compatibility was quickly obvious.
“There was something very natural or very easy about how we worked together,” Ms. Page said.
Mr. Siegel recalled being “super impressed by the way Priscilla was able to hold the room and command attention.”
After the residency, he asked her to lunch. That became a routine. Still, for a while the relationship remained mostly professional. “Things were, as life is, a little complicated,” Mr. Siegel said. “I was previously married, and that relationship was ending.”
The romance between him and Ms. Page grew over a period of months. (A “slow blossom,” said Ms. Page.) They had their first kiss in the summer of 2005.
They moved in together in 2011. (Among the issues when house shopping: Finding a place with space for his CDs.) In 2012, they started Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares, a synthesis of Mr. Siegel’s deep jazz knowledge and Ms. Page’s theatrical performance expertise.
The couple has found that their mutual areas of knowledge have rubbed off on each other. Since they’ve been together, Mr. Siegel said he has consumed more theater than he had in his entire life before he met her. And Ms. Page’s ear for jazz is now attuned enough to blindly identify players on different recordings — she recently shocked both herself and Mr. Siegel by recognizing a recording of the saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa by ear.
Ms. Page and Mr. Siegel were married on Oct. 11 at the Institute for the Musical Arts, in a ceremony officiated by Djola Branner, a friend of the couple who obtained a one-time designation certificate from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The scene at the ceremony, set between the apple tree stumps, reflected the couple’s mixed cultures: There was an altar to deceased family members that Ms. Page, who has Mexican, Native American and Anglo heritage, adorned with Virgen de Guadalupe candles. Nearby was a huppah, reflective of Mr. Siegel’s Jewish identity. And there was music: the violinist, vocalist and composer Terry Jenoure performed improvisational interludes, and the jazz players Jeff Lederer and Jason Robinson accompanied both the procession and the end of the ceremony.
“The original plan was to do Siman Tov,” Mr. Siegel said, referring to the Jewish folk song and old wedding staple. “But they ended up doing an Albert Ayler tune.”
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