One of the skills you learn at music college as a student of singing is to suit your voice to the music, and that includes volume. Singing a song with piano is obviously different to singing an aria with orchestra, for example. However, it;'s only experience that teaches you the art of self-regulating and adjusting your voice to different spaces as well. And it's not always about the size of the space either.
Music at a funeral service is often one of the first things to be discussed, as music has a great effect on people’s emotions.
Singing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It may be you just don’t like to sing, or prefer to do so in the privacy of your own bathroom. That’s fine, until an occasion comes along where you feel you really should sing, like a wedding or a funeral.
There's something very special and particularly moving about singing at the graveside. It also seems to be a growing trend; we’ve sung at 5 gravesides this year alone, and with more enquiries in the pipeline too.
Without sounding too grand about it, singing at the final resting place for the person we’ve learned about during the funeral service feels like an honour. We’ve been with the family through the process of choosing funeral music, singing under an open sky (whatever the weather) feels like a natural end to our involvement.
Throughout the years we've been singing for funerals, no pattern for bookings has appeared. However, this year, one has emerged - bookings for Fridays and mostly the middle Friday of the month. We're not sure why this might be. Do more people:
Looking through our records of music sung at funerals brought to light some interesting insights into the most popular Catholic funeral songs and hymns.
What are the best funeral songs and hymns for a funeral for your mum? We’ve sung at over 100 funerals for much-loved mothers, so here’s our list of the top funeral music for mums.
So far this year we've sung over 100 individual songs and hymns for funerals, burials and memorials services. As you would expect, this total includes some of the most popular items, including:
When you’re organising a funeral, there isn’t always a lot of time to investigate lots of options for the service. So, you (and many families like you) may not even realise you can have live music at a funerals service. And that applies to the songs you and your loved one enjoyed, not just the hymns.
Our ability to sing a wide variety of songs at funeral services has led us to some unexpected gems and new favourites. Many of these started out as a one-off request for one family and have gone on to delight and comfort many others.
We've started to notice the trends in music played at funerals, with Adele exiting stage left to be replaced by Lilly Allen and others, but some classic pop versions last way beyond their moment in the charts.
We've been delving into the files and realised a milestone has passed. We've sung at over 200 funerals.
What's amazing is the breakdown of where and what type of funeral we've sung for. Here's the stats:
Being an organist can be a rather dull job at time, no doubt. You sit through funerals, often playing the same ten hymns we suspect, and wait, idle, as another 'here today, gone tomorrow' pop hit is played on the CD player.
Who exactly is a funeral for? This may seem an obvious question, but the answer isn't quite so straightforward. We believe a funeral service should celebrate a life well lived, offering the family and those who attend the chance to remember, to reflect as well as say goodbye. Therefore, the choice of music, readings and tributes should reflect their choices.
Whilst in the car today, I was musing on what a terrific job I have. I know funerals are not what many people like to think about, but I really see the value of the enjoyment I give, and that I get out of singing at them. Today is a good point in case.
One of our favourite funeral hymns is 'And did those feet in ancient times', otherwise known as 'Jerusalem'.
From our vantage point at the front of a church, our singers never cease to marvel at the skill, care and dignity of the unsung heroes at a funeral, the pallbearers.
The Co-op’s recent survey of funeral music shows ‘My Way’ is still in the top spot, having featured on every survey conducted by the funeral service group.
Almost half of people make playlists for their own funerals well before they die. This alone shows how much people’s attitude to funerals is changing.
The choice of hymns for a funeral service are very personal to each family. There are long discussions about who likes which hymns and what ones were particular favourites of their loved one. However after much discussion it gets sorted, phew! Job done. Actually, not quite.
This is a new favourite of ours, a great funeral poem set to wonderful music. We knew of the poem, but the musical setting only came to our notice last year.
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All our articles are written either by Toni or Kirsty. If you'd like to write a guest blog, just let us know!