Funeral Songs For a Church Funeral
By Kirsty J Young
Planning A Funeral in Church
Organising a church funeral can seem like just one long
'to do' list at an already difficult time - and music
often comes as an afterthought. However, by placing
music at the heart of a funeral service, your family and
friends can both celebrate and remember your loved one
with so much more than just words and tears.
Some people leave instructions in their wills as to the
music to be played or sung at their funeral, and clearly
if this is so, the family should respect their wishes.
However, if no instructions exist, it's often a case of
you and your family choosing music special to that
person, or your memories of them. Your church minister
should also be consulted about music choices, as they
have a special appreciation of what music is suitable
for a funeral service or memorial service.
Songs and Hymns for Church Funerals
Funeral services in church usually follow a set order,
but there are several opportunities for music within the
service. Music sung in church need not always be
religious, so if you wish to choose a modern song to be
sung, check the lyrics beforehand and discuss your
choice with your minister. Also bear in mind that not
all modern songs sound good when sung with a church
organ, so consider hiring a funerals singer who provides
their own accompaniment.
Families can choose a particular song to be sung as the
procession enters the church, usually a time when it is
actually awkward for the family to sing themselves. By
employing a professional soloist or singer to perform at
this time, the family can prepare themselves for the
service, whilst the congregation can settle in the
Funeral Service Hymns:
Hymns present an opportunity for all the congregation to
take part, but the modern reality is that many find
singing hymns at a funeral difficult. Try to choose one
or two hymns that are not only special to your family,
but that are well-known too. It helps to have a funeral
soloist leading the hymn singing, as some attending the
funeral may not know the tune, or the words, or both!
Also, remember that you do not have to sing ALL the
verses of a hymn, which can take up limited service time
and drag down the energy of the congregation.
Funeral Psalms or Solos:
Often performed at communion or a similar point in a
church funeral service, a sung psalm usually has a
calming and soothing effect. A popular choice is Psalm
23 "The Lord is My Shepherd", sung as a solo.
The choice of funeral music for a procession exit is all
about mood; whether you wish the congregation to leave
the church on a hopeful or a sorrowful note. In either
case, a sung item creates a moment of purpose, a coming
together at the end, whereas gentle background organ
music, for example, can sometimes just let the moment
Accompanying Your Funeral Singer
Whatever music you finally choose, take a moment to
think about how it will sound in church, especially
accompanied by an organ. Most church organists are good
musicians and happy to play a wide variety of music for
a soloist, but many pop songs just don't work when
accompanied by a single instrument. If you want a modern
classic song, a good church funeral singer should be
able to provide quality recorded accompaniments and a
discreet system to play them through on the day.
My Way or Their Way?
Finally, if your loved one really adored the voice of
Frank Sinatra, rather than just loved the song "My Way",
for example, always play the CD recording. Most funeral
soloists are very accomplished singers, able to adapt to
many styles, but none of them will ever be Sinatra, or
Celine Dion, or even Freddie Mercury!
Kirsty Young is Director of Singers for Funerals, a UK
service offering professional opera singers for funerals
in the south of England, London, Birmingham and the West
Midlands. Singers for Funerals offer professional
funeral soloists to help celebrate a loved one in song
at any church funeral, cremation, civil funeral or
memorial service. Our experienced funeral singers offer
a wide range of songs for funerals, from much-loved
sacred songs to contemporary anthems.
For funeral music suggestions, funeral song audio
snippets and much more, see http://www.singersforfunerals.co.uk