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Funeral Songs For a Church Funeral Singer

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.

The Entrance:

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 church.

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 Exit:

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 slip by.

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


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