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’ve been singing at funerals for over a decade, and we’ve never seen anything like the current situation around COVID-19. We know the comfort and emotional release live singing brings to any funeral service, and we want to continue helping families by singing on throughout this current situation and beyond.
We are constantly inspired by the people we hear about in eulogies at funerals, but one day this week, we discovered hidden histories amongst our musical colleagues too!
Funeral hymns play a large part in many religious funeral services. They have become part of our culture and many seem almost second nature to us. You may wonder how you know the hymn even if you're not a church goer!
There's something particularly moving about singing at the graveside.
I can sing outside thanks to our discreet portable backing track system, so I have professional accompaniment wherever I go. I don't need much else: just a space for me to stand on (preferably), somewhere to rest the speaker, so the mourners can hear and see me. I even sing from under an umbrella if necessary.
We’ve totted up the numbers for 2018 and there were a few new entries into out chart list.
The composers or our chart toppers this year are separated by over 240 years. Goes to show if you get the tune right it will quickly become and remain a favourite for many and these men have that magic that makes a good tune!
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.
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.
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.
One of our favourite funeral hymns is 'And did those feet in ancient times', otherwise known as 'Jerusalem'.
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.
Statistics do make interesting reading, whether it's the number of votes politicians receive, or the number of songs we've sung at funerals!
Often people ask us which is the most popular song we've sung for a funeral, and yes, there is one that is requested far more than most, Schubert's Ave Maria.
Every year in May, Dying Matters promote a fantastic range of events and activities around the country. The aim is to get people talking about dying, death and bereavement and making plans for their end of life; known as Dying Matters Awareness Week.
Choosing funeral songs can be difficult, and even more so if you're choosing for a Roman Catholic Funeral.
We have sung at a number of Roman Catholic funerals, when there has been some confusion beforehand about what music may be sung during a requiem mass.
Many people wish to celebrate a loved one's life with music that is special to them. So families have been surprised by the restrictions on the type and content of the songs and hymns which are considered acceptable for a funeral mass in the Catholic church.
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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!