We've seen a lot of marriage proposal videos over the years, but nothing quite like this one.
Braeden Ayres is a composer and public school music teacher who wanted to show his boyfriend, Ryan Aguirre, just how much he means to him when he finally popped the question. So, he developed a beautifully elaborate plan to compose a song -- and have his chorus group learn and perform it while he proposed.
Ayres didn't tell his chorus that they would perform the song to accompany his proposal -- or even that it was his song at all. He presented it under a fake composers name -- Serena Redbay, an anagram of his own name. The group learned the track and Ayres didn't reveal his true intentions for the song until the day before the proposal.
Aguirre is also a member of Ayres' chorus, and learned the song, called "Request," along with the rest of the ensemble in the weeks leading up to the proposal -- without any idea it was the song he would get engaged to.
The results are absolute magic -- check them out above. The Huffington Post also chatted with Ayres and Aguirre this week about how Ayres managed to pull this plan off, and what the elaborate proposal meant to each of them.
The Huffington Post: Why did you decide to propose in this way?
Braeden: To be honest, I would have liked to have gotten him a giant diamond ring and flown him to London or something, but we're both public school music teachers (who are about to get a ton of loans, go back to school and get our Master's Degrees) so, let's face it... that wasn't exactly feasible. Still, I wanted it to be something that only I could give him. The one thing I knew I could do was write something from my heart, and even if it wasn't the "best song in the world," it would be an honest expression of all the reasons I want to spend the rest of my life with him. Now it's something we'll have forever.
How were you able to get the chorus to learn the song without Ryan finding out?
Braeden: I wrote it when I was home alone during the few hours I had apart from Ryan, back in December of last year. The only person in the entire chorus who knew I wrote the song was our director, James Knapp. I wrote the song and printed the music under a fake name, "Serena Redbay," which is an anagram for my full name. We concocted this whole backstory for her: she's this lesbian accountant-turned-composer who lives in Houston, et cetera. James would occasionally tell the choir stories about what a "brilliant composer" she was, which I thought was hilarious. I finally told the choir that I was the one who wrote the song the day before the proposal, when Ryan was out of the room. I have to tell you, it was one of the hardest secrets I have ever kept. So often, I almost turned to him and asked his advice on how I should propose, but then I remembered that would kind of spoil the surprise!
What do you hope this song represents for other same-sex couples?
Braeden: Well, the song was really written initially just for Ryan; however, in the time that we've spent rehearsing and performing it, we've learned that a lot of people are moved by it. I'm not sure why. I think that the picture of our love, which is in the song, resonates with some people. I hope people can see it and avoid cynicism. We're not perfect at it, but we really do try to be kind, respectful, vulnerable, honest, and affectionate with each other... and deep down, I think that's what most people want -- if they want a serious relationship. I guess, if there's anybody out there watching, I want them to know that this kind of love does exist, and not to give up hope for that. It happens everywhere: even Colorado Springs, one of the most conservative cities in the U.S.!
Ryan, did you see this coming? What did this mean to Braeden?
Ryan: At first, I was completely clueless. The first few months we rehearsed the song, I had no idea. I felt that it fit with the theme of the concert. We were doing a program that was half gay pride and half "I am Harvey Milk," an oratorio based on the life of Harvey Milk. I recognized the themes of love, strength and perseverance that the song, "Request," stood for. It wasn't until about mid-April that I started thinking maybe he would propose.
I remember sitting in rehearsal one night, listening to the words and looking at Braeden (as our assistant director, he led the rehearsals on the piece) and it dawned on me. The next morning, I called my best friend, Sam, and told him I thought Braeden would propose soon. Sam basically shrugged it off, but he was in on it too and was just trying to cover it up! Then, I figured out the anagram. It was at that point I figured it all out. Even though I had cracked the code, it was still an incredibly special moment. I started thinking at the beginning of the song, "How amazing is this?" I just sat, listened, looked around, and took in every detail I could, because I knew. I knew that this was the moment that I would look back on; this was the moment I will tell my kids about someday, and I needed to remember everything.
Being a musician as well, I know the hard work that it takes to compose a piece of music. The fact that Braeden would go through the time to compose a song just to make our proposal even more special is incredible. Having both been in difficult relationships and tough situations in the past, we are in complete awe of how well we communicate and how much we empower each other to be our best selves. We hope that the words in this song will inspire others to stick it out, even times are tough and they may feel lonely. We especially hope that it reaches the young LGBT community and can show them the life that awaits them. Most couples have their "song" that is special to them, but we have one that is unique to us. One that is really truly ours.