‘Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand’
Don’t be distracted by lists of popular “funeral songs”. The best use of music at funerals is personal. Pete Williams– songwriter, vocalist, hoofer, raconteur and founder member of Dexy’s Midnight Runners tells us why it’s important to choose carefully, and how he may be able to help.
“When my first daughter was born and the time came to leave the hospital and bring her home, it was important to me that the first piece of music she heard would be something beautiful and something that expressed the best of being human.
We didn’t play the car radio on the way back, but carried her into our small flat. I was torn between a few pieces if music, including the Roberta Flack version of ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ but in the end decided to put on my favourite recording of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’.
I held her in my arms and watched her take in the music.
Three years before this, my Mother died suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving us three men shocked and in emotional free fall. A funeral was hastily organised and we were told by the undertaker to ‘leave everything to me’..
The cremation and service went ‘as well as these things can’ and we duly made way for the next cortège and went back home for tea with whisky and sympathy.
It wasn’t until some time after that that I reflected on how little the service revealed of Mom’s vitality, her upbringing in Canada, love for poetry ,wildlife and the great outdoors. Her uniqueness in fact. The nearest we got to any of that was our choice of ‘Amazing Grace’ a melody that she loved, though possibly not the version that was raced through and played without much expression or feeling by the chapel organist on that day.
‘Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand’ so says the great Stevie Wonder. It’s also part of our olfactory senses, closely linked to smell and taste and like, sometimes, we might catch a whiff of burning leaves , or the smell of a High St cafe, we are transported right back to a place or time vividly recalled.”
Creating something beautiful- Music at Funerals
Pete has decided to help those who want music to be part of their goodbyes. He will do this with kindness and style. If the music is going to be an important way to celebrate and remember, then talk to Pete about his bespoke musical service.
“I offer a bespoke musical service, sensitive to what is required, and tailored to individual needs. I bring 30 plus years experience as a singer and musician as well as drawing on a wide network of friends and colleagues across all styles and genres, I can help plan a musical menu for wherever or whatever setting the occasion takes place.
I can learn and perform a song or songs that have been pre agreed ,these can be done very simply with voice and guitar or with a fuller accompaniment, Ukulele band or string quartet.
I can source backing tracks and can arrange for recording and CD duplication if it’s something that is asked for.
If you would like to get in touch and arrange a meeting please either ask contact A Natural Undertaking or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org“