It’s been a busy year for SFF – and that means lots of new music to add to our growing repertoire list. So far in 2022 we’ve sung over 200 individual songs and hymns for funerals, cremations, burials and memorials services.
As you would expect, this total includes “evergreen” popular items, such as:
- Schubert’s Ave Maria (the most popular request by far)
- Pie Jesu (the Lloyd Webber version)
- Time to say Goodbye
- The Lord’s my Shepherd (Crimond)
Others already in our repertoire have started to prove more popular with families, including :
- Laudate Dominum (Mozart)
- How great Thou art
- What a wonderful world
New funeral songs and hymns for 2022
When we talk to families, we’re always keen to hear about religious songs and hymns that have meaning for them. So, we have learnt and sung a fair few new-to-us hymns that families. These include:
- All my hope on God is founded
- Blest are you Lord God of all creation
- Blessed Assurance
- Colours of day dawn into the mind
- Faith of our fathers
- I am the bread of life
We’ve also discovered some new religious solos, which we sing as solos at Communion, Offertory or during a period of reflection. These have included:
Amazing grace, my chains are gone
This version of Amazing Grace was written by Christian singer Chris Tomlin for the movie about the abolitionist William Wilberforce. Tomlin was:
“Completely floored when they asked of all people — me — to write a new verse for one of the most sacred and recognized hymns of all time”.
The extra section to this well-loved hymn is very powerful and gives the hymn and additional up-to-date feeling.
Shepherd me O God
Written by Marty Haugen, this hymn/solo is based on Psalm 23 and is a wonderful alternative to the better known ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ (Crimond). This terrific arrangement has some of the wonderful melancholic tones found in some Jewish music. Again, it makes a nice alternative to the ‘Crimond’ setting.
Special requests for families
We’ve also learnt several special requests for families, which we always enjoy doing. Some are now our own new favourites, including these six:
O sole mio
Performing this requires channelling our inner Pavarotti!! Normally this ‘Just one Cornetto’ song is sung by a tenor. However, one family remembered their Italian mum singing this when they were younger and so we jumped at the chance to sing this favourite.
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye
The song is rather short if only sung once, but many people are familiar with the Gracie Fields version , with its numerous of repeats featuring Gracie and her backing singers. Soprano Toni took on the challenge to sing it the full three times times through, complete with the high section and ‘Es in alt’ (that’s dog whistle territory!) at the end. As Toni says, being an opera singer has its advantages when a wide range is required!
Some enchanted evening
One family wanted to have their dad’s favourite songs from musicals sung live, including this lovely number from “South Pacific”. However, as the funeral service was a Catholic Mass, non-religious songs weren’t possible. So Toni sang the hymns and religious solos during Mass, then hopped into the car and drove to the crematorium to continue the live music by singing this famous song.
The parting glass
We’d not heard this song before a family with Scottish roots requested it. We needed to create our own arrangement as a duet version, and then created a suitable backing track as well.
Fly me to the moon
It’s always nice to sing a ‘Rat Pack’ song, including this Frank Sinatra classic. The family said how much they appreciated having a live singer rather than the usual recordings, and how it made the choice all the more personal for the service.
Dream a little dream of me
This was the deceased’s favourite song, and they were very specific that it had to be sung live and in the Doris Day style. It’s only when you sing this yourself that you realise what an exceptional range and style Doris Day had. Toni spent several hours rehearsing and perfecting this song, much to the family’s delight.
Special music for a loved one’s funeral
If you are arranging music for a funeral, and are looking for something special and unusual, we can probably help!