Music is important to most people whatever their personal taste. Music at a funeral or memorial service can be particularly special and important as it can help to express a variety of emotions that go beyond words. Perhaps for this reason the choice of music can make or break a ceremony.
Few funeral/memorial services take place without any music at all, even if it’s only before and after a service. Often the choice of music for a funeral is the area or personal choice that people feel most confident about but this is not so in every case. The deceased may have had a particular favourite song, hymn or piece of music that meant something special, perhaps from years ago.
Sometimes a hymn is chosen that the deceased had at their wedding, or some other special service. We would suggest that, unless a piece of music is terribly unsuitable (very rude words for instance!) there is no reason why it could not be played at the beginning or end of a service, or even during the service subject to the agreement of the person officiating.
Music that is ‘live’ i.e. not recorded, is more flexible and can ‘fade in’ or out as appropriate. To a certain extent that can be done with recorded music and some items such as some of the more modern pieces; Heavy Metal for instance certainly would not work with just an organ playing it. Having said that, it is surprising just how much music written for other instruments can sound very effective played on the organ.
Music in a non-religious service still has a vital role. Sometimes the relatives of the deceased may require that a hymn be sung, or they may wish to sing or listen to some secular songs. A solo singer, male or female, can bring a lovely touch to any ceremony.
Sometimes a bagpipe player may be required or a trumpeter. All these features can bring a very individual feel to a funeral. We can arrange any one of these for you as well as arranging for an organist to be present at the service.
When it comes to singing, whether secular or hymn singing, an organist to accompany the congregation is ESSENTIAL.
Our local crematoria use the Wesley Music System (www.wesleymusic.co.uk). They have a general list of music and this may be viewed on line. They are able to source any commercially available music. The crematoria no longer accept CDs
We have additional equipment available if the service is in a church.
We ask that 72 hrs notice be given for all music requests. This will allow for time for downloading, delivery or rehearsal.
Southampton and Wessex Vale crematoria offer Webcasting of the service, so that mourners who are unable to attend may watch the service live through a weblink. The service remains available to watch for 7 days.
Each crematorium has a tribute screen where photographs may be displayed during the service. Up to 25-30 photographs may be displayed and are often played to music. The service may also be recorded and a DVD or audio CD produced.