Funeral Music Yet Again
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I know that some of you have compiled lists of "recommended" funeral music that can be used in consultations with families. Usually I arrive at a church as the organist and/or cantor when it's all a done deal. And I can play and sing my way through the six or so usual suspects - ranging from Be Not Afraid to the Schubert Ave Maria.

    Yes, the ideal is the Gregorian Propers and the entire state of Florida will probably be submerged before that happens around here. At the same time, I would like to start raising the bar when I have the opportunity.

    Share your wisdom and you will be showered with gratitude.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    mjballou says: Yes, the ideal is the Gregorian Propers and the entire state of Florida will probably be submerged before that happens around here.

    Perhaps the Summorum Pontificum, global warming and polar ice cap melt is no coincidence!
  • G
    Posts: 1,388
    I have been thinking about making Christopher Tietze's All Souls Introit hymn my default for a funeral entrance hymn, (since I have pushed my pastor tolerance to the breaking point by insisting that any "but it was Auntie's favorite song" recessional choice be preceded by In Paradisum, in Latin or English, I don't see any other Propers happening...)

    (Save the Liturgy, save the World)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    It seems to me improper for you to do anything outside of the capacity of Music Director. If you are just an organist (which is my understanding) then you shouldn't be dictating how funerals will go at the parish and should follow the dictates of the music director and/or the pastor.

    That said, when I was MD last, I made a strict funeral policy of using only the Mass of the Dead ordinary and the communion antiphon in Latin with verse. I would have been gladly willing to forgo those if specifically asked, although I made a point not to mention it. The communion antiphon grew out of my professional policy of "better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission"; I did it at a really long and painful funeral (I thought the deceased sounded like such a nice guy that I couldn't let him go without some real music) and thought "wow, that was nice and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I should do that at every funeral..." My point is that if you can't exercise the "what we do here" card, nothing's STOPPING you from getting up and chanting that right before the communion hymn. Or the BFW English transcription. Perhaps you could use the sung Introit (again Latin/English) as a prelude, and call it a "solo".

    To sum up, if you're an MD, make it "what we do here". If you're not, make it "something extra I wanted to add for the family". It's just a matter of throwing away the tired old dogmas about music ministry and taking that first step.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I sometimes find myself playing at churches that have no music director. They function on a cobbled-together system of different volunteers who start and stop collections of volunteer singers on Sunday morning and Saturday evening. Rehearsals are conducted for approximately 20 minutes before Mass. Consequently, when they bring in an organist (or pianist), it's me that calls the family. Or we're simply advised by the funeral home of the family's choices.