Singing at funerals across southern England does ensure we sing in many different types of venues. The contrast in venues is sometimes very marked, but as professional opera singers we're able adjust our voices to suit each venue accordingly.
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.
Throughout the years we've been singing for funerals, no pattern for bookings has emerged. However, over the last months, one has emerged - bookings for the middle Friday of the month.
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.
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.
After I've sung at funerals and listened to the eulogies, I often wish that I could have met the deceased. So many had lived interesting lives and made such an impression on people. Two recent funerals spring to mind.
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