Service…As in: When I’m Dead, Use this Music at My Service

 

I’ve been to many funerals in my life. Some were a celebration held after a long life. Some were a remembrance of a loved one gone too soon, but thankfully relieved from a vicious period of suffering. Some were really painful because the loved one was taken in a sudden tragic way. But, the highlight of every one of these services was the music. Music at a funeral is critical because one’s soul is touched by music in an incomparable way.

Mr. CowGirl and I have (jokingly) (…well, maybe not “jokingly”) told our children that the only thing that matters at our funerals IS the music. We keep compiling lists of songs that our talented children will be required to perform. There won’t necessarily be time left for eulogies or sermons because, the older we get, the more music we keep finding that defines our lives.

Here are a few samples:

This is one of my husband’s favorite songs. He’s loved it forever, so, although we cannot book Jerry Garcia for the (inevitable) funeral service, one of our sons should be able to do a reasonable rendition.

This next one is also on Mr. CowGirl’s list. It was written by Vince Gill for his brother, whose life had taken some tough routes.

On my list is a hymn from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hymnal. It was written by one of my favorite hymn lyricists, Eliza R. Snow. I love the positive tone of the words, and I love playing it on the piano or the organ because the music rises with the words, and then ends on a peaceful note. I couldn’t find a video with it that I liked, but here are the words:

Though deep’ning trials throng your way,
Press on, press on, ye Saints of God!
Ere long the resurrection day
Will spread its life and truth abroad,
Will spread its life and truth abroad.

Though outward ills await us here,
The time, at longest, is not long
Ere Jesus Christ will reappear,
Surrounded by a glorious throng,
Surrounded by a glorious throng.

Lift up your hearts in praise to God;
Let your rejoicings never cease.
Though tribulations rage abroad,
Christ says, “In me ye shall have peace.”
Christ says, “In me ye shall have peace.”

(I will have to specify, however, that the person who introduces this number will have to practice the title–It’s amazing how many times I’ve heard it pronounced “THROUGH Deep’ning Trials!!)

Another song that means a lot to both of us and so will probably need to be done at both of our services, is by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. We lived in San Diego for about 13 years when we were first married…Navy family. Every year we’d ride the motorcycle up to the fairgrounds in Del Mar, and watch the Dirt Band in concert at the county fair. They loved playing that venue! And we loved their music, so it was a win-win. Here is a song that really defines our relationship.

The final song I’ll add here, of the vast playlist we’ll urge our children to perform at the Final Hurrah for their parents, is a classic I first heard it done by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. However, this video by Jimmy Fortune, the man who wrote these lyrics, is a superb example of the song. My first experience hearing it resulted in my having to pull off the road where I was driving to finish listening to it on the radio, because I was crying too much to be able to drive safely.

This is far from a complete list, but we really do have a deep attachment to these songs. What music would you like performed at your “service” to remember your life, when you’ve departed this realm?

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I think I’ll have this, just to annoy those who hate it:

    • #1
  2. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Arahant (View Comment):

    I think I’ll have this, just to annoy those who hate it:

    How in the world can anyone HATE this song!!??

    • #2
  3. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    At some point I’ll want this one:

    And this one:

    • #3
  4. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    The one song I have specified I want played at my funeral is “All my tears washed away” by Emmylou Harris. 

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Cow Girl (View Comment):
    How in the world can anyone HATE this song!!??

    Some have heard it too often.

    • #5
  6. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    • #6
  7. Juliana Member
    Juliana
    @Juliana

    We definitely need Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor for my husband’s funeral. He’s been practicing it for the last year, although he won’t be there to play it. I think he also wanted the promenade from Pictures at an Exhibition. Things change. Should probably get an update.

    I would like How Great Thou Art and  Go Silent Friend (which is sung to the same tune as Danny Boy). I’ve already told my kids I want mourning and weeping – none of this celebration stuff. This hymn ought to do it.

    Go, silent friend,
    your life has found its ending;
    To dust returns your weary mortal frame.
    God, who before birth called you into being,
    Now calls you hence, his ascent still the same.
    Go, silent friend,
    your life in Christ is buried;
    For you he lived and died and rose again.
    Close by his side your promised place is waiting
    Where, fully known, you shall with God remain.

    Go, silent friend,
    forgive us if we grieved you;
    Safe now in heaven, kindly say our name.
    your life has touched us, that is why we mourn you;
    Our lives without you cannot be the same.
    Go, silent friend,
    we do not grudge you glory;
    Sing, sing with joy deep praises to your Lord.
    You, who believed that Christ would come back for you,
    Now celebrate that Jesus keeps his word.

     

     

    • #7
  8. USAhafan Inactive
    USAhafan
    @ShaunaHunt

    I love Eliza R. Snow! At Mitchell (maiden name) funerals, we usually use “O, My Father” . Although, “Though Deep’ning Trials” seems more appropriate for mine. What is your favorite hymn?

    • #8
  9. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    For a funeral in our church, the only music allowed is sacred music.  My mother only asked for one hymn in particular and like most Episcopal hymns it doesn’t really have a title, just the first phrase of the song:  “The Strife is O’er, The Battle Done.”

    I tried to find a good choir recording of it to attach here, but in vain.   It is a beautiful hymn.

    • #9
  10. Vectorman Inactive
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    EB (View Comment):
    My mother only asked for one hymn in particular and like most Episcopal hymns it doesn’t really have a title, just the first phrase of the song: “The Strife is O’er, The Battle Done.”

    In the Presbyterian Hymnal (Pilgrim Hymnal) of 1980, it’s #181, written by William H. Monk, with the title “Alleluia! The Strife is O’er.” There is a special Alleluia before the main words. In the 1935 Methodist Hymnal, it’s #156 with the Tune Title of “Victory, 8. 8. 8. 4. with Alleluias.”

    Nice hymn, by the way.

    • #10
  11. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Well, I would have to give it more thought, but the one hymn that comes to mind for my funeral would be Precious Lord, Take My Hand.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIOrKd9puMI

    • #11
  12. ShaunaHunt Inactive
    ShaunaHunt
    @ShaunaHunt

    My mom had Come, Thou Fount of Ev’ry Blessing, How Great Thou Art, O, My Father, and one called As Sisters in Zion/We’ll Bring the World His Truth, at hers. I would consider Via Dolorosa or Watch the Lamb at mine. Another favorite is Precious Savior.

    • #12
  13. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    • #13
  14. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    The final movement in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (the introduction followed by the choral Ode to Joy).

    • #14
  15. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    Arahant (View Comment):
    I think I’ll have this, just to annoy those who hate it:

    I loved this and used to listen to it after a hard day to calm myself down.

    Then, one day when we were taking out 15 year old Brittany to the vet for what was to be surely his last trip, it came on the car radio.  I can’t hear it these days with tearing up and thinking of “Bandit”, the ultimate “go dog”

    I might ask for it at my funeral.

     

    • #15
  16. Belt Member
    Belt
    @Belt

    I’ve sometimes joked that I’ll make them play “Born to be Stupid” by Yankovich at my funeral.  I’d like to see the worship team try that one on for size.

    But seriously, I’d like “Come Thou Fount” because it’s a prayer, and Gershwin’s “Lullaby for Strings” because I’m looking forward to a nice refreshing nap, and to where I’ll stand when I arise.

    • #16
  17. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Maybe this, too:

    • #17
  18. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    EB (View Comment):
    I tried to find a good choir recording of it to attach here, but in vain. It is a beautiful hymn.

    How’s this from the National Cathedral?

     

     

     

    • #18
  19. ShaunaHunt Inactive
    ShaunaHunt
    @ShaunaHunt

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Maybe this, too:

    I love Pavane!

    • #19
  20. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    I’ve told my family that whatever they want to do for my funeral is fine;  it is for them, not for me.  But if there is a church service and they are looking for music, I would want Schubert’s Ave Maria sung.  A funeral staple, I know, but surely one of the most beautiful and comforting pieces of music ever written.  

    • #20
  21. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    EB (View Comment):

    For a funeral in our church, the only music allowed is sacred music. My mother only asked for one hymn in particular and like most Episcopal hymns it doesn’t really have a title, just the first phrase of the song: “The Strife is O’er, The Battle Done.”

    I tried to find a good choir recording of it to attach here, but in vain. It is a beautiful hymn.

    That is a really lovely message in this hymn.  I’m pretty sure that my husband’s funeral won’t be in a church, but perhaps in a community gathering place. He’s not very religious. However, acoustic guitar music, and certain songs that are not hymns are permitted in our chapels, so I’m confident that I can have my children perform The Far Side of Jordan.

    • #21
  22. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Belt (View Comment):

    I’ve sometimes joked that I’ll make them play “Born to be Stupid” by Yankovich at my funeral. I’d like to see the worship team try that one on for size.

    But seriously, I’d like “Come Thou Fount” because it’s a prayer, and Gershwin’s “Lullaby for Strings” because I’m looking forward to a nice refreshing nap, and to where I’ll stand when I arise.

    “Come Thou Fount” is also a lovely, terrific hymn! See, I need to just create a play list and maybe when people come to visit my resting place in the cemetery, their presence will turn on a song to play while they’re standing there. …new tech headstone?

    • #22
  23. B. W. Wooster Member
    B. W. Wooster
    @HenryV

    AP of course.  Which carries the best line of any song ever.  “I know that I don’t know what I’m asking.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcSNF9gRVCg

     

    • #23
  24. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    ShaunaHunt (View Comment):

    I love Eliza R. Snow! At Mitchell (maiden name) funerals, we usually use “O, My Father” . Although, “Though Deep’ning Trials” seems more appropriate for mine. What is your favorite hymn?

    I could never begin to choose just one favorite hymn!! And, since I was the default organist for many years as we moved about the country, some hymns are favorites to play, and some are favorites to sing!

    I’m always happy to sing:

    Battle Hymn of the Republic

    The Spirit of God

    In Remembrance of Thy Suffering

    Some I LOVE to play:

    All Creatures of Our God and King

    A Mighty Fortress is Our God

    For All the Saints

    Cast Thy Burden Upon the Lord

    And a couple I love to sing and play:

    Press Forward Saints

    Christ the Lord is Risen Today

    Angels We Have Heard on High

     

    Okay this could go on forever!! I love church music. I love music. I have limited skills, but I have several children with excellent, unbelievable skills, and that is one of the sorrows of having them all grow up and become self-sufficient adults.

    • #24
  25. ShaunaHunt Inactive
    ShaunaHunt
    @ShaunaHunt

    Our choir did a beautiful version of I Stand All Amazed on Sunday. I was in tears. The Restoration hymns all make me cry. I served my mission in the New York, Rochester area back in the mid-90s. (Palmyra, Fayette) 

    If I die around Christmas, I want John Rutter’s Candlelight Carol sung at my funeral.

    At my mom’s funeral, all of the youth aged grandchildren sang the EFY medley. I’d love to post that here.

     

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    ShaunaHunt (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Maybe this, too:

    I love Pavane!

    A pavane is a type of musical piece with a dactylic rhythm. That piece by Susato is “The War.” Here is a newer and more famous pavane:

    • #26
  27. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):
    How’s this from the National Cathedral?

    Thank you!

    • #27
  28. Richard Finlay Inactive
    Richard Finlay
    @RichardFinlay

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):
    How in the world can anyone HATE this song!!??

    Some have heard it too often.

    Cello players who are regretting their choice of instrument.

    • #28
  29. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    I’ve been thinking that “Be Thou My Vision” would be about right.

    I especially like the last verse:

    Oh high king of heaven, when battle is done
    Grant heaven’s joy to me, bright heaven sun
    Christ of my own heart, whatever befall
    Still be my vision, thou ruler of all

    • #29
  30. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    Richard Finlay (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):
    How in the world can anyone HATE this song!!??

    Some have heard it too often.

    Cello players who are regretting their choice of instrument.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV1mZ1BjKa8

    They are still doing this routine, saw them in Boise this summer.

    • #30

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