Statistics do make interesting reading, whether it's the number of votes politicians receive, or the number of songs we've sung at funerals!
Where do you start when choosing hymns for a funeral service? There are so many hymns to choose from. Having sung at many Anglican funerals we've first hand experience of the various choices people have. Often it's a close run thing with the popularity of hymns as we all have our favourites.
There's something very special and particularly moving about singing at the graveside.
The funeral service itself was a celebration of a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend and mentor to many people. I had the privilege to listen to a wonderful eulogy, some moving tributes and speak with many people afterwards.
One of the skills you learn at music college as a student of singing is to suit your voice to the music, and that includes volume. Singing a song with piano is obviously different to singing an aria with orchestra, for example. However, it;'s only experience that teaches you the art of self-regulating and adjusting your voice to different spaces as well. And it's not always about the size of the space either.
This is a favourite of ours, a great funeral poem set to wonderful music. We knew of the poem, but the musical setting only came to our notice last year.
Funeral hymns really do sound best played on a real organ - but what if the church or crematorium doesn't have an organ, or indeed an organist? Singers for Funerals have an extensive library of recorded hymns accompaniments for funerals for just such a situation, thanks to the excellent recordings by John Keys available from the Hymns CDs website.
Here at Surrey & London Funeral Singers, we love the trend towards personalised order of service booklets, complete with family pictures and poems.
Kevin Mayhew of Kevin Mayhew Publishing has started a debate on Hymn singing and the keys they are sung in. He says that many people say ‘We can’t sing up there’, and states that research shows the human singing voice has dropped over the last century.
The choice of hymns for a funeral service are very personal to each family. There are long discussions about who likes which hymns and what ones were particular favourites of their loved one. However after much discussion it gets sorted, phew! Job done. Actually, not quite.
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).
After speaking about the slight variations on instructions with the Catholic Faith office, I was advised that:
follow a funeral singer