By 6:30 p.m., an hour before showtime, two of his three musicians had arrived via the loadingdock: keyboardist Bruce Robinson, a slight, dapper man with a mustache; and drummer SamBrawner, tall and broad-shouldered and wearing a gold ring in the shape of a lion's head on eachhand. Still missing was saxophonist Atiba Taylor. "You look like a new shilling," Holmes saidinto the microphone to Robinson, who had already changed into his tuxedo.As with most of the weddingshe played, Holmes wouldemcee the evening's events inaddition to singing and playingguitar. At 6:45 the weddingplanner, Joan Sacarob, wearinga cream-and-peach tweed suitand peach heels, clicked acrossthe parquet dance ﬂoor for arun-through of the agenda. Itwas Holmes's ﬁrst timeworking with Sacarob, a petitewoman with a neat bob whosaid she had been named a "toppick for Jewish weddingplanners" by Washingtonianmagazine. She ﬂipped the schedule open to the dinner, which included a blessing over a loaf of challah. Perhaps 80 percent of the weddings Holmes plays are for Jewish clients; he considersthem a specialty of his, and he learned the Hebrew words to accompany the hora years ago tohelp ensure his marketability."
-lah," Sacarob was saying to Holmes, leaning into the syllables."Chah-lah," repeated Holmes. Sacarob narrowed her eyes."Okay, the blessing over the bread, don't even use the word 'challah,' " she said. "Do you mind?Just say, 'Blessing by Margaret Fisher and Carol Greco.' ""I can say 'challah!' " Holmes said to the room after Sacarob left, waving his ﬁnger in the air inmock indignation. "I can say that word!"By 7 p.m., Holmes had ﬁred up his laptop, on which he keeps his library of songs, and he,Robinson and Brawner were noodling around an instrumental version of "Papa Was a RollingStone." Holmes, who had donned a cream-colored dinner jacket, ﬁddled with some levels on hismixer. Sacarob returned to check on the placement of some urns. Behind them, visible throughthe ﬂoor-to-ceiling plate-glass windows, the wedding party posed for the photographer on the farside of the koi pond."I do a lot of work here," said Sacarob, gazing at the pond."Well, I'd like to do a lot of work with you," Holmes said pleasantly.
The Washington Post