Funerals have changed beyond recognition since lockdown began. From large gatherings to celebrate a life with music and words, they have shrunk to just 10 or so close family members, sitting apart and unable to console each other. Some families can’t even attend in person, instead watching via a web video link as they sit in isolation at home.
We know how much music can help grieving families at funerals, and much as we’d love to, we’re not allowed to attend in person to sing. Instead, we’ve been singing at home for all those who have lost loved ones, but can’t say goodbye the way they wish.
Hence, we created the “The Midday Ave”. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we post on our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Instagram) a song or hymn that families have asked us to sing at funerals over the past year or two. https://www.facebook.com/SingersForFunerals
It’s as ‘live’ as we can make it, recorded in our home direct on an iPad, accompanied by backing tracks, and done in one take. (We tried live streaming our singing, but the audio quality on Facebook Live was not good, and occasionally the dog decided to join in!)
We also record a brief intro to each song on Instagram/Facebook Stories, as well as a post about the song with a dedication. So, if you want us to dedicate the song in memoriam to a loved one, please just send us the name. We’ll either read the names in the introduction, or pop in the video post. Please send names by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or Message us through Facebook.
We hope this simple act of remembrance, combined with music, may bring some comfort to families unable to have live singing at the funeral in any form. It’s not much in the scheme of things, but we are genuinely concerned that families need some way to mark a passing close to the date of death, rather than waiting until months afterwards in a memorial service.
Our Midday Ave was inspired by a holiday in Sicily. Every day at noon, all the churches play an orchestral recording of Schubert’s setting of “Ave Maria”. It was almost surreal, as the recording wasn’t played in sync, but relayed up the mountainside like passing a musical baton from one church to another. Toni inevitably joined in with the Latin words especially if near a church at the time, much to the delight of the local residents.
Seven years on, we hope our “Midday Ave” is something families can listen to, join win with if they wish, and celebrate a life in song.