Angela Williams and Michael Greco
June 30, 2018, in Philadelphia
Mike couldn't believe his eyes. Right there, on OkCupid, was a Philadelphia-born jazz musician who loved performing and teaching music to young people — just like him. "She looked really cool," he remembered, and he really hoped to get to know her.
Angie's response to his message revealed he already did: "Hello, Michael," she began that summer day in 2015, ignoring his screen name.
They hadn't been in the same friend group, but both are graduates of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA). "Wow, Michael Greco!" Angie thought when she saw his photo. "He was such a great guitar player in high school; an amazing musician," she said. "It was a surprise that he picked me out."
Once Mike realized who he was talking to, he "remembered seeing this cute girl walking in the halls, and seeing her great performances with the choir."
Since they quasi-knew each other, they exchanged phone numbers right away. They texted. They talked. They made a date that Michael regretted having to cancel. He had forgotten about a jazz trio gig at Heritage in Northern Liberties.
Disappointed, he told Angie he wanted to see her as soon as possible, which turned out to be very soon. Angie, along with friend Hannah for moral support, headed to Heritage.
Mike was thrilled the minute he saw her. "It was so nice that she would think to come hang out, and see me play."
Angie was impressed with how polished his playing had become. She was also quite nervous, but that evaporated during his first break. "He came right over and said hi to me and to my friend," she said. "He sounded amazing, then on top of that, he was really just a sweet, personable guy."
They caught up over beers. Angie, now 31, was close to finishing her double degree in jazz voice and music education at Temple University and would be a student teacher that fall. Mike, now 32, had graduated from Temple with a degree in jazz performance in 2008 — their stints did not overlap — and had earned his master's in music education from the University of the Arts in 2010. He was already teaching.
Later, Mike looked Angie up on SoundCloud, and was spellbound by what he heard. "She did all of these songs a cappella, and wow!"
The following week, Mike picked up Angie after her rehearsal and they shared dinner, conversation, and a lot of laughs at McMenamin's. "I felt like I could really be myself," Mike said. Angie felt the same way. "Even though we hadn't been friends in high school, it was as though we had known each other forever," she said.
They soon became each other's biggest fans, professionally and personally. "She's just so concerned about helping other people, and she's so sweet and so beautiful," Mike said. "Also, she's so incredibly humble; you would never know she is just a powerhouse singer."
Angie fell for Mike's ability to find the silver lining in everything. "He wakes up happy, and he goes to bed happy," she said. "I realized I really needed that in my life."
In December 2015, they played their first gig together and now regularly perform around Philadelphia. In 2016, the two took their love of teaching to the Philadelphia School District. They applied together, auditioned together, and were hired at the same time. Angie teaches choir, guitar, and general music to seventh- through 12th graders at First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School. Mike teaches those same subjects to kindergarten through grade eight at Juniata Park Academy.
"We share so much," he said.
Angie, from Mount Airy, and Mike, from South Philly, took a trip to Wildwood to celebrate their second dating anniversary.
As soon as they parked the car, they went for a walk on the beach. Mike took her to a spot near the water, away from other beachgoers, and began to sing:
The very thought of you makes my heart sing
Like an April breeze on the wings of spring
And you appear in all your splendor
My one and only love
Angie was delighted, touched, and perplexed; her man does not like to sing. "What are you doing?" she asked.
He knelt, and then she knew.
Angie said yes, and Mike put a ring on her finger.
The ceremony and reception for 165 were held at Galdo's Catering in South Philadelphia. Angie walked down the aisle to "My One and Only Love" — the song Mike sang to her when he proposed — played on guitar by Greg Kettinger, a Temple professor and friend of the couple. He also played the Beatles' "In My Life" when the bridal party entered.
They were married in a simple Christian ceremony by Pastor Alexander G. Houston, pastor at a church where Angie once performed. Mike's father, Michael Sr., was his best man. Nephew Anthony was ring bearer and niece Giuliana flower girl. Angie's sister Christa was her maid of honor.
The cocktail hour featured Greg on guitar, plus friends David, an organist, and Peter, a vocalist. Then, the bride and groom performed for their guests: Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning" and jazz standard "The Nearness of You." As favors, guests received tunes to go — a compilation of 12 songs performed by the couple, including Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour" and Carole King's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"
The celebration continued with much food — mostly Italian delicacies — much drink, and much dancing to hip-hop, pop, and R&B faves from the '90s and early 2000s.
Performing love songs at their own wedding was something this couple will never forget. "We were surrounded by family and friends, and doing what we love," Angie said. "It was the perfect culmination of who we are."
"It symbolized our union, and this togetherness," Mike added. "The other beautiful thing was we're playing and singing, and all of our friends and family were there with us, singing along."
A bargain: Other venues the couple considered charged one price for the room, then extra for most everything else. At Galdo's "the price per person included a top-shelf open bar, wedding cake, and an amount of delicious food that was just incredible," Mike said.
The splurge: Studio time, mastering the recordings, and manufacturing The Love Album CD added up to one pricey bunch of wedding favors, but the couple are thrilled that they did it. "Everyone got to take one home, and it's something we can hold onto forever," Angie said, plus, it's a great demo for prospective gigs.
The couple have been spending most of their extra time and cash on their recently purchased West Mount Airy fixer-upper, so they kept it simple: Three days of R&R on the beach in Ocean City, Md.
Officiant: Pastor Alexander G. Houston, the Christian Church in Philadelphia, Philadelphia
Venue and food: Galdo's Catering and Entertainment, Philadelphia
Music: Peter Gaudioso Trio, Philadelphia; DJ Greg Maddox, Philadelphia
Photography: Zamani Feelings Photography, Philadelphia
Flowers: McClane Flowers, Philadelphia
Dress: David's Bridal
Hair: Au Naturale Inc., Philadelphia
Makeup: Dominique Speca Makeup Artistry, Philadelphia