Two funerals on one day is nothing new to Singers for Funerals, but we've never actually managed it without changing venues. This usually involves a drive from city crematorium to remote country church, and a swift prayer to both the traffic gods and the parking fairy en route.
So, we were amazed when two totally unconnected bookings came in on the same day at Portchester Crematorium, even including a very civilised hour between services for a bite to eat. The whole experience took Kirsty back to her early days performing opera roles on tour, as she explains:
And inevitably there comes a point in the second performance where you get to a place where one principal does something totally different from another, and think 'Have we done this bit yet?!' It can be quite disconcerting…
Luckily, this actually hasn't ever happened on a two funeral day, simply because services are so different. The 'cast' has changed; different family, different vicar, different organist. So has the 'libretto'; different live stories, different tributes, different readings. Even the 'score' has changed: different music choices for hymns, songs, entry and exit music. So there never is really a chance of deja vu creeping in to knock your concentration, and with a gap in between you can both relax and prepare for the next without that terrible opera matinee; do I take the wig/dress and makeup off and then have all the hassle of putting it all back on again?!
Instead, in between 'performances', I sat in the Hampshire sunshine, watching the sunlight glint on the waves in Portsmouth Harbour from my vantage point on a bench in the crematorium grounds. It was very peaceful, very calm and reminded me that singing at a funeral is a very worthwhile and fulfilling role in itself.
Unlike some matinee performances I've sung with an theatre full of those most demanding of critics, the retired. Never shall I forget my grand entrance in a flowing overdress to a loud whisper from the middle row of "Eeeeh, what does she look like in them their curtains…"
Give me funerals anytime!