Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Marriage proposal was door prize

Choir member pops question at concert

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Bryce Weedmark (left) publicly proposed to Scott Andrew at a concert Saturday night. He'd filled the audience with friends and family.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Bryce Weedmark (left) publicly proposed to Scott Andrew at a concert Saturday night. He'd filled the audience with friends and family. Photo Store

Audience members at a Saturday night concert were treated to more than music when a member of the Rainbow Harmony Project choir surprised his long-term partner with a marriage proposal.

Bryce Weedmark, 26, had been plotting the stealth proposal to Scott Andrew, 30, for months. The men, who have been dating for 21/2 years, had talked vaguely about getting married and having children some day. Andrew, who was celebrating his birthday Saturday night, had no idea he'd end the evening with a ring on his finger.

"Surprised really doesn't describe it," Andrew said a couple of days after the engagement. "I didn't have a clue. He was very good about keeping it under wraps."

He said he only clued in when his boyfriend kept talking, describing their relationship at length. There were murmurs in the audience as people started to clue in.

Weedmark, a respiratory technologist at Seven Oaks Hospital, said he almost let the cat out of the bag a few times. "I was inviting everyone by text," he says, "but it was hard not to blurt out 'Oh, I was talking to so-and-so.' I'm amazed he didn't find out."

Attendees were told to fill out a stub on their tickets when they entered Crescent Fort Rouge United Church. At the midpoint of the concert, it was announced the door prize would be drawn.

Weedmark pulled the winning ticket. It had Andrew's name on it. As choir members jokingly shouted "fix!", Andrew made his way to the front of the room.

Weedmark introduced him as his partner, told the crowd it was Andrew's birthday and started to talk about their relationship. Maybe I'm too impatient, but I was hoping he'd wrap it up, give the guy his free CD and get back to the music. I was slow to catch on.

But after telling the crowd they'd just bought a house together and that he'd never been happier, Weedmark dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring box.

The crowd went crazy as he made his formal proposal. Andrew blurted out "Of course." Applause rang through the church, which Weedmark had peppered with friends and relatives.

When we spoke, I asked Weedmark if he was worried he might be publicly turned down.

"Not really," he laughed. "I was pretty nervous overall."

Public proposals have gained popularity and the Internet is littered with videos of engagement offers gone wrong. There's the guy who proposed to his girlfriend in a food court, accompanied by a guitarist. While onlookers clapped and urged her to accept, she said no and bolted. An American man proposed to his lady during intermission at a basketball game. The on-air announcers gave the play-by-play, including the moment she rejected him and left.

Weedmark says he was certain he'd be accepted. His mom helped him pick out the gold and diamond ring and was in the audience for the proposal. "My mom is in love with him," says Weedmark. "She considers him her fourth son."

Andrew, a former dancer and now teacher at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's professional division, wasn't nervous in front of the large crowd. Declining the ring was never an option, he says.

"That became the running joke all night long," he laughs. "If I'd said no, then what?"

Weedmark joined the choir in January. He went to the board of directors for permission to interrupt the performance with his proposal. Most of the choir members didn't know what he was going to do.

The couple hasn't set a date.

lindor.reynolds@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2013 B1

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About Lindor Reynolds

National Newspaper Award winner Lindor Reynolds began work at the Free Press as a 17-year-old proofreader. It was a rough introduction to the news business.

Many years later, armed with a university education and a portfolio of published work, she was hired as a Free Press columnist. During her 20-plus years on the job she has written for every section in the paper, with the exception of Business. She’ll get around to them some day.

Lindor has received considerable recognition for her writing. Her awards include the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ general interest award and the North American Travel Journalists Association top prize.
Her work on Internet luring led to an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada and her coverage of the child welfare system prompted a change to Manitoba Child and Family Services Act to make the safety of children paramount.

She has earned three citations of merit for the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism and has been awarded a Distinguished Alumni commendation from the University of Winnipeg. Lindor was also named a YMCA/YWCA  Woman of Distinction.

She is married with four daughters. If her house was on fire and the kids and dog were safe, she’d grab her passport.
 
lindor.reynolds@freepress.mb.ca

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