Funerals offer an opportunity to say farewell and to celebrate a life in many ways, including singing, music, a eulogy, readings and poetry. Singing can be at the heart of a service in a church or in a crematorium etc. be it with hymns or songs, or both. When we are bereaved, music can be uplifting and a great source of comfort and consolation. It can also express how we feel more eloquently than words at a time when the right words can be hard to find. Depending on the type of funeral, whether C of E, Catholic or other denomination, there can be a few guide lines on the types of music you can choose, so feel free to discuss your choices with me and with your minister or celebrant. Most families ask for a funeral singer to perform one or two songs, but I am very happy to sing more songs if you wish and if the duration of the service allows.
The significance of a humanist funeral, is to leave out anything 'religious'. The song choices and poems will be secular. For more info about Humanist funerals, CLICK HERE.
Often the same applies to a civil funeral - however the big difference is that religious and sacred sermons, poems and songs ARE allowed. For more info on civil funerals, CLICK HERE.
Organist / Accompanist or CD Backing Track or Unacompanied Singing (Acapella)
Often churches have an organ and an organist to accompany hymns, who also can accompany me. However some organists only have basic skills (and are unable to play for Schubert's Ave Maria, for example). If a church organist isn't able to accompany me, another accompanist can usually be booked through me. Some song choices don't work with an organ or piano accompaniment, though. In such cases, I can often use a CD accompaniment from my vast selection of high-quality pre-recorded accompaniments for many songs. I do have a transportable CD player, I can use for playing CD backing tracks during a funeral. However in my experience, most churches and crematoria nowadays, have very good hifi, and it is usually always best to use their in-built stereo systems. Some songs work best unaccompanied, i.e folk songs, like 'Danny Boy'.
A Guide to adding Music and Singing to a Religious Church Funeral Service.
A typical church funeral service includes several opportunities for personal choices of music that have special meaning for the family.
In Crematoria, the services usually are shorter and you can often pick out a few items from this longer list (below) quite freely.
I can sing at any point during the Funeral; as requested.
Performed before the service, a prelude provides a gentle welcome in music for family and friends.
This could either be a song to gather attention, or music to accompany the funeral procession as it enters the church or chapel.
A psalm is often sung after a reading, allowing a moment for reflection.
A favourite is ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ (Psalm 23).
(This psalm could either be sung by everyone or sung as a solo by a funeral singer)
Leading the family and guests in hymns or singing a hymn or two as a solo. Or, you may prefer one hymn and a favourite song, sung by a funeral singer.
'The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended' (St Clement Tune) is a very popular Hymn choice.
SONG OF FAREWELL OR COMMUNION OR COMMITTAL (IN CREMATORIA)
In some services, a ‘final commendation’ is performed, often accompanied by a song or music that has a special meaning to the family. This part of the funeral service is where a funeral singer often is asked to sing as a farewell, committal or during Communion.
(With Catholic Requiem Masses, I very often sing 'Ave Maria' or 'Going Home' or 'Panis Angelicus' during Communion)
As the funeral procession departs, sometimes a more positive and uplifting song or music is chosen to accompany this.
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