Playing a song or two during the Funeral or Celebration of Life is nice and breaks up some of the speaking portions. A song that is less than 4 minutes is best. If it is a particularly emotional song, 4 minutes can seem like an eternity. As your Funeral Celebrant, I will suggest the appropriate placement of the songs you choose. The last song played is often the most upbeat to end on a “high note” so-to-speak.
Below are a few of the most memorable Funeral Songs that were selected at services I had the privilege and honor of officiating in 2018.
“Hallelujah” by Alecia Keys This is a beautiful rendition and was played during an interfaith service. My personal favorite version is “Hallelujah” by FACE Vocal Band, a local Colorado acapella group.
Songs for Suicides – “The Show Must Go on by Queen”, “I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans”, “Meet Me in the Middle of the Air” by Paul Kelly, “Go Rest High on That Mountain” by Vince Gill, and “Leave Out All the Rest” by Linkin Park.
“Amazing Grace” by Celtic Women – The deceased was an Irish lass with gorgeous red hair. So many versions of this song and one of the most popular played at funerals. Here are a couple artists that were chosen by families and new to me: “Amazing Grace” by Elissa Binnion, “Amazing Grace” by Wintley Phipps.
“The Parting Glass” by FACE Vocal Band – An Irish bloke with a wicked sense of humor. His friends said they could feel his presence when this song played.
Infant Deaths Songs – “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, “Fly” by Celine Dion, “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton, and “With Hope” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
During a Dove Release – “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John
“Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf – Closing song for a motorcycle rider and yes, he was very, very WILD in his lifetime. Lots of laughter with happy tears at this Memorial.
Have you given some thought as to a song or two that you would like played during your own Funeral service? Put it in writing and also tell someone who will be making decisions about your Remembrance Ceremony.
Family or friends often put together a Photo Tribute with a medley of songs to play as guests are entering, pause it during the service and play it again as guests exit or at the reception afterward. If Mom liked country music, then put together some of her favorite country songs. Was Dad was always playing and singing Rock N Roll songs? Download his playlist or choose some of the best of the best to play with the Photo Tribute. Music is one way to truly personalize a Celebration of Life and remember, it’s all about your loved one!
Anita Larson is a Ceremony Leader and Officiant who blogs about her experiences with Celebrations of Life. Providing uncommon ideas and encouraging her readers to "Think Outside the Coffin®" when planning a Fabulous Farewell.