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.
An issue that has come to light is if a funeral takes place during Lent, some priests have insisted there's no music at all in the church.
(This is what caused me to do the investigation and call the Catholic Church to get a definite answer).
At Singers for Funerals, families often request is to learn new songs to sing at services. We've already built up a wide repertoire of songs for funerals, from sacred staples such as Ave Maria and The Old Rugged Cross to cross-over classics such as Over The Rainbow and We'll Meet Again, but we're always happy to learn more.
It’s not often we have competition for sound-space at a funeral, apart from the occasional helicopters or low-flying planes.
In mid-2012, a young singer uploaded a song about losing her father in a car accident onto YouTube. It became a viral hit with those grieving their own loss, and after exposure on Smooth Radio, it suddenly became THE song to play at funerals.
Baroness Thatcher planned her funeral with the same thoroughness and patriotic spirit that marked her three terms as Prime Minister.
Our first venture into the wonderful world of infographics, showing the top songs we sing at funerals and which are more popular, hymns or songs.
The latest survey of funeral music by the Co-operative Funeral Care reveals that two thirds of funerals feature pop music rather than classical or religious music. Only 30% of funerals featuring hymns as opposed to 41% in their 2005 survey.
Much of our time before a funeral service is spent chatting to the organist, and it amazes us how often the family has not made provision for entry and exit music for the service.
One of the questions we get asked a lot at Singers for Funerals is, how much music do we need at a funeral service?
Choosing hymns for a funeral can be quite tricky if you don't attend church regularly, and according to statistics from the Church of England, that includes most of us these days.
As funeral singers, we often find ourselves discussing funeral service choices with the family in a rush before the event, as they were left with no clue as to what the deceased actually wanted for their funeral.
In their recent report, the Cooperative Funeralcare reported that:
Every year, 242 Co-operative Funeralcare funeral homes are surveyed to discover the most popular music for funerals, and what an fascinating list it is. Here are the top 10 funeral music from February 2008 - February 09 as listed by the Coop - items marked with a * are sung by our funeral soloists here at Singers for Funerals.
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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!