Worst Funeral Stories (Funny... much later)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,362
    There have been a handful of funeral threads, and for some reason I've been wanting to inject some levity.
    I will not be insulted if this post gets deleted or buried because everyone think it's inappropriate to talk about, but...

    I think it might be fun to share our most ridiculous, awful, tragically comic, and this-would-have-been-so-funn (if it were not for the deadly serious business at hand) funeral stories.

    ("They wanted me to play David Haas, can you believe it" does not count.)


    I'll start:

    My brother and I were asked to do the music for a funeral at our home parish. We were still in HS- young and not sure how to handle weird very well. A friend of the deceased, who wore a tuxedo w/full tails, approaches us RIGHT before the Mass to ask us where he can sing his two show tunes. (Really, actual show tunes. "Impossible Dream" sort of stuff). Lucky for us, he had brought accomp. tapes, so he didn't even need my brother's piano skills. (How fortunate!)

    "Um.... uh..... well..... Why not one before and one after?"

    So he sings one before Mass starts. It would have been ridiculous even if he had sang it well. It was worse than ridiculous.

    Mass proceeds.

    Recessional, with pall bearers carrying out casket. Finish singing. Brother is playing an instrumental verse of the last hymn as people start to file out (there will be a reception in the hall).

    "Wait! Wait!"

    It's our guy!

    "Come back- I'm going to sing another song. He loved this one. Brian? Can you start the tape..."

    Mourners, confused, wander- some out, some back in. Technical difficulties with the karaoke tapes prolong the awkwardness. 14 year old self can barely watch. Singing starts. Mourners continue to wander in and out. I retreat to the sacristy because I don't want to make faces in front of the mourners.
  • JeanL
    Posts: 21
    I played for a funeral which involved an individual who convertetd to Catholocism on their deathbead from a non-Christian religion. There was a eulogy after communion where the daughter of the deceased, who also was a convert to Christianity, decided to chastise the non-Christians in her family for not yet converting. I don't believe there really was an actual "eulogy." I think she just kind of scolded everybody.
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    The worst one I ever did was back-to-back burials of a mother and daughter. The mother had shot her 19-year-old daughter and then killed herself because the child support was about to run out and she had no way to pay for the girl to go to college. The ex-husband (since remarried) asked that the funerals be offered separately. But there was no mistaking the pall hanging over everyone. I don't think I've been to one that was sadder or seemed more senseless.

    On the bright side, I live in South Carolina, where college football is the semi-unofficial established religion. A prominent and well-to-do physician who died a few years ago was a huge fan, and they rolled his casket down the aisle of the First Baptist Church to the recorded strains of "Also Sprach Zarathrustra." I kid you not. The reason for this is that the U of SC football team uses said music as its grand entrance for home games.

    That one made me glad he wasn't Catholic. And clearly no one had Nietzsche's work about Zarathrustra, whom he characterized as "the first immoralist."

    Yep. Thank God I'm Catholic. At least none of the pastors I've ever worked for would allow that sort of buffoonery.

    (The Artist formerly known as Yurodivi)
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    Then there was the time my godmother's cell phone rang during the Sanctus at a funeral. But that's not the worst part . . . it was on the other side of the choir loft, and she was alone up there, couldn't get to it. The best part? The ringtone was Offenbach's "Can-can."
  • I work in a relatively aging community, so I play somewhere on the order of 40 funerals a year. It's not that you get callous; it's just part of the job. Frequently, I don't even know the name of the deceased before the funeral starts.

    Imagine getting ready to sing the Saints of God at the end of Mass and not knowing whether to sing "Saints of God, come to (Oh no! His or her?) aid."

    It happened once. And only once.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    Imagine getting ready to sing the Saints of God at the end of Mass and not knowing whether to sing "Saints of God, come to (Oh no! His or her?) aid."

    And that is why God gave us the word "their."
  • 'Their' is not, in spite of common current usage, the appropriate pronoun to use in reference to a singular subject, thing or person. It is glaringly inapt, and is, its ubiquity notwithstanding, an amusing curiosity of speech of those who live in constant fear of offending chic gender consciousness.
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    Thanx, ur right. 4 the situation Andrew Motyka describes, "his or her" would've worked far better. I wish I had thought of that b4 posting!
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,362
    Use of the singular "their" has a pedigree in written and spoken English going back at least to Shakespeare. It's not incorrect, only informal- which makes it inappropriate for liturgical English, but very handy for board game instructions (player one starts their turn by rolling the dice...).

    Also, much like FaceBook's announcements that "Mellisa has changed their relationship status," it is glaringly inept (and inapt) when the speaker/writer should very well know the gender of the antecedent.
  • I agree that the word "their" is grammatically inappropriate, but when faced with the possibility of calling "him" a "her," or vice versa, it seemed like the best of bad options.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Call me sexist (and many people have!), but I use "his" as a gender-unspecified pronoun. "Player one starts his turn..."
  • As an editor, I might have changed the wording in the rules to "The player's turn begins by ..."
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    Call me sexist (and many people have!), but I use "his" as a gender-unspecified pronoun. "Player one starts his turn..."

    I as well, and it is certainly because i am sexist.
    Man/He/His denotes your average, everyday, plain, ordinary ol' slice of humanity; and connotes ones lack of sufficient interest in the subject to even learn any details.

    Woman/She/Hers?

    Think of us as the Extraordinary Form, if you will ;oP

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    If someone uses "his" to denote both genders, hopefully "he" isn't surprised or shocked when others use "her" for the same purpose. I received this in an e-mail just yesterday:

    "It is difficult for the reader to get her bearings regarding contemporaneous developments..."

    Would I have written it differently? Probably. Do I know what the author means? Yes.

    Was the author a man or a woman?
  • We all bow to Shakespeare; but Shakespearean pedigree aside, I am continually amazed when someone uses this glaringly enept locution with a straight face and no clue as to the non-sense of it. It would seem that anyone, considering the climate in which we live, could use either a masculine or a feminine form when 'singularly' appropropriate. I do, indeed, wonder every time I hear it why people don't laugh or giggle at the mis-use of 'their'; but, oddly, they never do.

    As often happens, we have here another tangent on a topic that started out differentlly. So, call it a story about the funeral of literate English - except that it isn't funny. It isn't possible to read or hear something like 'player one starts their turn by...' without assuming the illiteracy or ignorance of the writer or speaker.
  • Doug, when this happens it usually meant to make a statement. English does not have the non-gendered personal pronoun (e.g, Spanish "su"). But I notice that Spanish translations of "men" (meaning mankind) usually come out as "los hombres."
  • Let me weigh in for inclusive language: "Men" can mean both sexes or just males; "women" necessarily means just females. Also for tradition: Using "she" to mean either sex is jarring and unhistoric. Also, while we're at it, for accuracy: People have sex, words have gender.

    In my experience, Spanish liturgical and biblical texts do use "los hombres" inclusively (a los hombres que ama el Señor; los hombres son unos mentirosos; etc.)

    "Su" has merely dropped its second syllable on the way from Rome to Spain. The syllable still comes through in the intensive forms "suyo, suya, suyos, suyas".
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    It is becoming more and more common to have a mix of both "his" and "her" really meaning "his/her" in prose, and it's not really statement-making anymore. It's just practical. I agree that saying, "the player takes his turn" (or whatever it was) is perfectly acceptable, but if the player is 50/50 likely to be male or female, why doesn't the player take "her" turn? Are you really going to read feminist propaganda into board game instructions? Likewise with a lot of prose now. People just do it, and it's not really a big deal anymore.

    I don't really care what folks do in that regard, but I admit that "their" as a singular is a pet peeve.

    In a funeral? I can't imagine anything other than the proper gender being acceptable...
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,362
    My inability to type coherently aside, I'm a bit of a grammar geek, as well as a strict enforcer of concepts such as the Oxford comma.

    However, I have to disagree with the Grammar Puritans who claim that the "singular they" is simply incorrect, inept, inapt, inelegant, inappropriate, or otherwise intolerable.
    As the issue continues to be debated among professional grammarians (several prominent style guides have neutral or favorable positions on the matter), and the (as CMS states) "venerable use by such writers as Addison, Austen, Chesterfield, Fielding, Ruskin, Scott, and Shakespeare," it is clear that one need not be an uneducated hack in order to consider the singular they a useful and reasonable construction.

    Also, not all uses of the non-gender-specific "she" are intended to "make a statement," as it were. Many writers simply shift from "he" to "she" in order to avoid both the inherent sexism of male-as-neutral and the inelegance (in the extreme) of "he/she" constructions. When done well, this is hardly noticeable. When done poorly, this sticks out like a sore thumb, giving both Grammar- and Gender- traditionalists fodder for their arguments. Obviously, a female pronoun used deliberately for a traditionally male antecedent (God, priest) is intended to make a statement, but "player one begins her turn" seems an unlikely protest.

    It's okay if anyone disagrees with me, they are probably just a sexist man.
    (Yes, yes. That was a pronoun agreement joke, not my actual opinion.)

    My actual opinion is:
    -In informal writing, the singular they is acceptable.
    -In formal writing, the singular they is inadvisable; rewriting for avoidance is the best route, especially if the author (or the intended audience) has issues with gendered pronouns.
    -In any type of writing, the generic masculine, while not incorrect, may be inadvisable. This depends largely on the potential audience, and whether the author cares about causing offense.
    -In any type of writing, the generic feminine, while not incorrect, may be inadvisable. This depends largely on the potential audience, and whether the author cares about causing offense.
    -The most egregious error is the mixing of different uses within one work, such as when an author can't make up their mind, and so scatters his or her writing with several different pronouns types, making him look like she is an idiot.
    -In Liturgy (ah, here we go), the singular they is never acceptable. If there is someone in a casket, please find out their gender before praying for them. Otherwise, it shouldn't even come up as an option, because no priest should be writing his own prayers.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    I totally agree, Jam. It's normal now, not so much a political statement.

    I also agree with you, Jackson, for what it's worth!
  • Using 'he' or 'she' in a generic sense is acceptable. At least one or the other makes grammatical sense. However, it IS un-reasonable to give the use of 'their' anything other than, in Adam's words, uneducated hack status. Even if it is sanctioned by some prominent moderne grammarians, who, as a class, rather enjoy being unexpected iconoclasts. The use of 'their' in reference to a singular subject belongs in the same category as 'she don't', 'they is', 'ain't' and other ill-learned horrors. The most charitable construction to put on it is that the speaker is terrified of saying 'he' or 'she' - most probably 'he'.
  • "Also, not all uses of the non-gender-specific "she" are intended to "make a statement," as it were. Many writers simply shift from "he" to "she" in order to avoid both the inherent sexism of male-as-neutral"

    Your second sentence contradicts your first. If someone shifts from standard usage, he/she is making a statement.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,598
    I use "he" when I mean a person of either sex. Let those be offended who tend to be offended. May their houses be turned into dunghills - I always loved that statement from the KJV.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,362
    As I said:
    -In informal writing, the singular they is acceptable.
    -In formal writing, the singular they is inadvisable; rewriting for avoidance is the best route, especially if the author (or the intended audience) has issues with gendered pronouns.
    -In any type of writing, the generic masculine, while not incorrect, may be inadvisable. This depends largely on the potential audience, and whether the author cares about causing offense.
    -In any type of writing, the generic feminine, while not incorrect, may be inadvisable. This depends largely on the potential audience, and whether the author cares about causing offense.


    Clearly some of you have no issue with offending your audience. That is your prerogative as a writer, but it is good to know that it may cause offense. It is also good to know that you may be communicating something you didn't intend (for example, your stance on gender equality). Maybe you do intend to communicate that, or maybe you don't mind communicating it, but it is good to know, either way, that you are communicating it.

    Hence: MAY be inadvisable.
    Or it may not matter a whit.

    Back to liturgy...
    Regardless of my, or anyone else's opinion on contemporary grammar usage, I think most of us can agree that:
    Liturgical language should not be informal, ever. In fact, it should go beyond "formal" and straight into hieratic.
    Therefore, a number of constructions and usages which are both acceptable and useful in contemporary writing and speaking, should be avoided. Likewise, a number of usages that have gone out of fashion (such as the "Lord, who have" of another thread) should be preferred.
    Although, again, that shouldn't even matter to those of us who are not members of ICEL, as none of us should be writing our own prayers for Mass. I guess it might matter for writers of hymn texts, but I have a hard time imagining a sincere hymn-writer using the singular "they."
    (Although my opinions of sincerity have been challenged recently, as I discovered the "robots have taken away his job" lyric in the First Things comments. It really should have been "robots have taken away their job.")
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,598
    I think the greatest offense, is that so many of us are willing to tolerate political correctness. Now we have women "priests" in some churches. Nonsense. The generic "he" is the standard English I grew up with and "priest" is a word describing ordained males. Now do I care what other churches choose to ordain? No! But I do object to botching up a perfectly good and beautiful language for political correctness. Political correctness started, as I remember, in academic circles. It should have been left in that crazy, absurd world detached from reality. I also believe we have far too many people who have made careers, sometimes profitable ones, out of being offended. Why we humor them is beyond me.

    Liturgical language, as you state, should not be informal. It seems to me that the new missal is an attempt to correct the informality of the current missal. Many have complained about the new translation, to be sure. I am looking forward to it.
  • "I don't really care what folks do in that regard, but I admit that "their" as a singular is a pet peeve.
    In a funeral? I can't imagine anything other than the proper gender being acceptable..."

    AND

    "Although, again, that shouldn't even matter to those of us who are not members of ICEL, as none of us should be writing our own prayers for Mass. I guess it might matter for writers of hymn texts, but I have a hard time imagining a sincere hymn-writer using the singular "they.""

    Yes, all of these things. "Their" was not written into the hymn, but added in a split second decision when Andy (that's me) realized he had no clue whether he was playing for a man's or woman's funeral. I didn't go through a huge thought process. That's why it belongs in the "Worst Funeral Stories" thread and not the "laundry list of Andy's grammatical atrocities" thread.

    There have been other times when I've played funerals with visiting/guest priests (or if you prefer, a visiting priest, for all you singular/plural pedants) and he has omitted the final prayer before the In Paradisum. I'd finished the Song of Farewell, and we all stand there awkwardly. I finally will realize that he's waiting for exit music, and start singing.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,362
    Yes, yes.
    Enough with the grammar geekery.
    I want to hear funny funeral stories.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,598
    You haven't lived until a widow asks you to play, "Brighten the Corner Where You Are." It was her late husband's favorite.
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    This wasn't a funeral, but yesterday I was playing the organ at the (normally) Folk Mass, and while I was playing the Gloria, an enormous cockroach came ambling around the corner of the console. (Not Kafka-sized, but still big.) So what could I do? The folk choir were pointing and laughing, but I just kept on playing. He kept on ambling around on the right-hand side of the cabinet. Then, after the Gloria was over, he flew away.

    So after Mass, one of the ushers comes over and says, "Hey -- next time you play dis Mass, leave yer pets at home!"
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,655
    Were I in some strange situation in which I could not remember the name or gender of the deceased, nor could I remember what the homily/eulogy that took place was about, nor see the spouse of the dead - I'd go for "their." It's better than using "his" or "her" or just coughing when that part of the diddy came up.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    I agree with Adam on context: it really does depend on the readership. These days the writer must keep his audience constantly in mind, and be adept at adapting language in a manner that communicates best. That's the point of plain old language, after all. Liturgical language is a completely different issue.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,220
    Just one more bit of geekery: kindly translate "dona eis pacem." How informal is that?

    I can think of a lot of funny stories but they've all got that tragic element. Maybe they need a few more years to mellow...
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,362
    Thanks Jeffrey!

    And you'll be glad to know that I was not offended in the least by your (obviously sexist and backward-thinking) assumption that the generic writer of your statement must be male :)

    And Liturgical Language is ALWAYS a different issue! If only everyone could understand this.
    Yes, we'd still have translation disagreements. Yes, we could still argue about the "qui" clause if we were geeky enough to enjoy the argument. But at least we'd be able to say, "Whatever else it should be, it shouldn't be the way I talk to my friends on FaceBook."
    Ah, well.


    Cockroach story is... awesome.
    Maybe (since we're already off topic) we could expand to ridiculous and awful things that have happened to us at Mass. (Excluded is all discussion of bad, but common, liturgical choices. You can include the truly weird, though- like puppets and robots.)

    Um...

    As an altar server, in my youth, I started a fire in the sacristy in the middle of Midnight Mass. The deacon noticed, and saved the day.
    The next Easter Vigil, to redeem myself, I put out a fire that started when a flower arrangement got too close to a candle.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Adam, I almost anticipated you making up for it by putting out a different fire at the Vigil... which actually one windy snowy year, the Holy Fire went out immediately after being blessed.... that's something you try not to look too much into.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,598
    We had a string of holy fire disasters at a couple of Easter Vigils. The first year, a young teen male was sent down from the choir loft to bring a lighted candle back to the choir. So far so good, you may think, but he has a severe case of ADD. On his way back, a parishioner held out her candle to be lighted. Our young man made it back to the choir loft 15 minutes later. Once distracted, he stayed downstairs to light every one's candle.

    The following year, the winds were howling and snow was flying outside. The holy fire was brought inside the church. Unfortunately, the ushers walked away and left it in the nave to burn itself out. Since all the smoke rose to the loft, the choir was nearly asphyxiated. Afterwards, there was an oily film on everything.

    The next year, the ushers took the fire outside after lighting - yes, the weather was horrid again. Somehow, they managed to set the mulch on fire in the plant beds in front of the church. Our ushers do tend to be special needs people, for some reason.

    After several years of disasters, the pastor decided to use a tray of votive candles instead of wood. Things have been better since then. Of course I didn't mention the combination action freezing on the 60-year-old organ console. It locked everything up on the console, nothing worked, and I could smell the ancient magnet switches overheating. I have learned to always keep pliers and screwdrivers within reach.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,362
    Our ushers do tend to be special needs people, for some reason.

    Funny aside...
    After visiting Trinity Episcopal in Boston, I had to come home and tell my mother about how strongly the Episcopalians value gender equality: They even have idiotic old women who don't know what's going on ushering along side the usual contingent of idiotic old men who don't know what's going on. Such progress!
  • Here's a non-funeral whopper for you:

    Freshman year of college, the chapel choir decided to sing O'Connor's "Jesus the Lord" (.....let all creation bend THE kneeeeee), with choir on the refrain and cantored verses. Verse 2 contains a line, "But emptied Himself, became a slave." Verse 3, directly below, contains a line "Accepting His death, death on a tree!" The last word falls musically on a big flourish, a dramatic, forte high note, followed by a measure of rest. The poor cantor somehow got scrambled. "But emptied Himself, became A TREEEEEEEE!...(measure of rest, filled with appalled silence)....(the choir timidly enters:) Jesus?? The Lord?"
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,362
    "But emptied Himself, became A TREEEEEEEE!...

    love it
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    Many years ago I was playing for Midnight Mass at a Catholic Chapel on a US Air Force base. It was right after the first Gulf War, and the Chaplain had just gotten back. Father did the incense as suggested, then gave it to the altar server, and she put it by an open window for the smoke to go out. So far, so good, right?

    Well, the Chaplain had had some sort of conversion experience in the desert, and as soon as he started in talking about it during the homily, the hair stood up on the back of my neck, and the longer he talked, the worse it got. Finally he said he was going to play a song that had been a great comfort to him. Those of you who were around can probably guess what it was.

    So over the loudspeakers comes the [not-so-] divine Miss M singing, "From a Distance," whose moral is, "God doesn't care what happens to you or anybody else." And just as she got to the bridge, the wind shifted, and the incense started to blow INTO the chapel. Within 30 seconds, the chapel was completely filled with blue-gray, fragrant smoke - it was like a tear gas attack, but ten times as awesome.

    I think the moral of this story is clear.

    1) Yep - God is definitely watching us.

    2) He doesn't approve of recorded music at Mass.
  • "Dona eis pacem": It translates precisely as "give them rest". But if we put it into the singular, "dona ei pacem", the "ei" means him or her, whichever is needed.
  • Someone said let's go back to funeral stories. Don't know if this one is true but it very well could be. Anything can and does happen at funerals.

    This lady was arranging her husband's funeral. She was naturally a jittery, nervous sort and was really at wits' end trying to sort everything out. When the funeral director asked her about music, she said all she wanted was a male trio singing "Jingle bells". The director says, "Jingle bells?" Yes, she assured him, it was her husband's favorite song and he always said he wanted it at his funeral.

    So the funeral happens and at a specified moment the song begins. Whereupon the widow says, in a voice heard throughout the chapel, "Damn! I meant "Golden bells.""
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,102
    Over a decade ago, I was asked to cantor the funeral of the Italian grandfather of a friend of mine, with another friend as accompanist. The funeral was to be held at Our Lady of Pompeii in East Boston, where Franciscans were in charge.

    My friend and I get to the church before the regular daily Mass, to scope out the space and things musical; the church is locked. Eventually, a very ancient Franciscan brother opens up. We ask where the organ is, he does not respond. He points to his mouth and blurts a raspy "heh" and does likewise with his ears. A deaf mute telling us not to bother him with too many questions. He starts moving, and lets us in the loft. He shows us the organ, my friend attempts to play it, and it's obvious a hurdy gurdy will sound better. So, there's a synthesizer nearby, which we realize is what must be used. OFM brother leaves. We rehearse. Then get quiet as we see that daily Mass is about to start.

    And, it's in *Italian*. So, we're wondering, will the funeral be in Italian? I start to think of what the Italian cues are going to be. Ach. We stew, fitfully.

    Mass ends. Place clears out. We go downstairs to find a priest to tell us if the funeral will be in Italian; we luck out - no, it will be in English. Yeah.

    During the funeral Mass, a pallbearer from the funeral home suddenly appears in the loft while my friend and I are playing/singing, and surprises my friend (the pallbearer looks a bit like Lurch from the Addams Family, and moves with stealth). He wants my friend to take a fee. My friend's hands are busy. My friend has to explain this is being done for friendship, not for a fee. Pallbearer is mystified. At that point, I can't recall what happened next, it was so surreal.
  • janetgorbitzjanetgorbitz
    Posts: 930
    ...So the funeral happens and at a specified moment the song begins. Whereupon the widow says, in a voice heard throughout the chapel, "Damn! I meant "Golden bells.""...

    This was really funny... I'm very glad I wasn't sipping coffee when I read it. I'm not sure my computer would have survived...
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,598
    Yesterday, I had one of those moments which make me grateful I refuse to do weddings or funerals. A long-time member of the church passed away, and his widow asked that "I'll Fly Away" be sung at the funeral. I suppose the funeral organist and choir did it. I suggested they stick another feather in the widow and let her go, as well. I did state that I needed to get the associate pastor to incense the organ and drive any residual demons out before I play it next Sunday. :-)
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Oh, Charles. That's a great song! Not appropriate for a Catholic funeral, but great nevertheless. I have a friend who's done the research, and I think he told me it's been recorded something like 500+ times. Talk about longevity!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,352
    I suppose the forgetful lady must have been thinking of this...?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,598
    Having spent my life in East Tennessee, I know the "Golden Bells" song, the Garden song - "I Come to the Garden Alone," and "I'll Fly Away." One of my aunts took me to church with her when I was a child, and they sang from shape-note hymnals. All that stuff was in there.
  • Related to CharlesW and incensing the organ - there is the tale of the great Jean Titelouze whose predecessor had died in the organ gallery. Titlouze would not enter therein until it had been incensed to rid it of any lingering bad spirits. My best funeral story is about the one that didn't happen: nearing the end of Good Friday services many years ago a prominent member of the congregation had a heart attack... he unexpectedly survived and attributed his good fortune partly to the beauty of the music.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,362
    My High School choir director told me that he attended the funeral of a church MD (Southern Black Gospel Protestant). The lady had dropped-dead upon lifting her fingers from the organ on the final chord of the last song of another funeral. Dozens upon dozens of eulogized in the same format: "I remember, when I was 6 years old- Sister Lucy taught me my first song... And it went a little something like this..."

    He swears that there was a procession to go up and have "a final look" on sister Lucy in the casket- and that the vast majority of mourners had cameras to capture said "final look."
  • chonak: Yes, that is what she wanted. She might even have had taste enough to want it on a pipe organ.

    I listened to Loretta up to "... only reach that shore by faith, you see." Wrong. Any east TN mountain boy like me knows it is "... shore by faith's decree." Ach. Another song emasculated.

    Adam, that "procession" happens in Mexican churches too, though usually at the cemetery rather than in the church.

    Charles W: You carry me back to my own childhood and to "Beyond the sunset", sung at my beloved great-grandfather's funeral in 1956.

    Thanks, Janetgorbitz.
  • Beat this:

    I once played the organ for the funeral of the departed head of the New England branch of Hell's Angels. You could hear the procession of a thousand Harley's a mile away. After they arrived I began playing preludes but began to wonder why incense was burning before the actual Mass began; a little latter I noticed some irregularities in my playing which became progressively worse. Curiously, the worse I got the less I cared. Only later did I realize that smoke from the narthex had drifted into the loft thus causing me to be stoned silly.

    I also have done my share of mafioso funerals but will save those for another time. Let's just say that if they request "Gentle Woman" I play "Gentle Woman."