My father-in-law was buried in a large Presbyterian Church in Littleton, CO. We met at the church at 10:00 am for the service to place his ashes in the Columbarium in the church yard, and then trooped inside for the memorial service. My father-in-law and mother-in-law had chosen the music for the funeral a couple of years ago. Neither of them knew a whole lot about church music or the pragmatics of congregational singing. There were issues.
The first hymn we all had to sing was “The Lord’s Prayer”. It is very difficult for a congregation to sing, being better handled by a soloist. (Our daughter-in-law has a beautiful voice and sang it at my parents’ funerals. ) It really doesn’t have a set tempo, and the tempo changes as the song progresses. Then we had to sing “How Great Thou Art”. That went a little better, but the whole thing was made worse by the piano player.
The piano player was an elderly man who played the grand piano in the sanctuary like Liberace. I was surprised there was no tip jar. He is the main keyboard player for the church, and he is a soloist, not an accompanist, who seemed to not care a bit if he helped the congregation get through the hymns. He was loud and bombastic. and played with lots of arpeggios and ornamentation. It was all about him and how flashy he could play. I would find attending regular services there really annoying.
I suppose I have been spoiled by the wonderful music I have been exposed to in the Lutheran churches I have attended in my life. This experience made me decide to to write down what music I want at my funeral.
What music do you want to celebrate your life when you are gone?