Tuesday, August 29, 2006

FUNERALS (Adoremus Bulletin 9/06 Issue)

Lucy Carroll touches on funerals - always a common sticking point of mine in terms of appropriate music, bench fees, and eulogies. I will always maintain that only sacred music is appropriate for the funeral, the bench fee (the organist's full fee) should be awarded to the parish organist when the family wants the former organist five times removed or dear Aunt Sally (whichever may be less liturgically- or less musically-inclined) to play instead of the parish organist, and for crying out loud NO eulogies at Mass. Save the talk about grandpa's beer blitzes for the wake, will ya?

If anyone has heard my podcast about eulogies, you'll hear the story of one celebrity roast I had to endure by this one lady who was once told by the deceased that she had "too much to drink". I think she had too much to drink doing the dang eulogy! But Dr. Carroll has an even funnier (yet sadder) instance:

The brother walked into the sanctuary in shorts, sneakers, and spoke of sports and such. Near the end, someone from the congregation handed something to the speaker. He held the object aloft, saying: “So, brother, here’s a toast: to you!” Pfsst! He popped open the beer can and began to drink! Immediately, from the congregation, pfsst, pfsst, pfsst, pfsst followed -- people had brought their own beer cans to Mass!

I'm seeing a very bad mental picture in that speech! I don't drink - period! But probably could have used a good stiff one after that Mass.

Incidentally, Dr. Carroll is, like me, an advocate of the use of the In Paradisum or translation thereof as the recessional (instead of How Great Thou Art or Beagle's Things).

Plenty more good stuff in the September 2006 AB. Check it out!



Dad29 said...

Not all the "import" musicians are, ah, turkeys...

20+ years ago I was the organist at a local parish and had to work with Aunt Sadie, Uncle Ralph (et al) for weddings.

So when Ms. X wanted her uncle to sing, I said yeah (with no enthusiasm) and told her he should meet me at the church 2 hours early (figuring that as usual, I'd wind up with serious edits due to limitations...)

I get there and the singer's already in the church, doing warmup arpeggios, through FOUR OCTAVES, all on pitch.

Gratias a Deo for gifts...

Turns out he was a regional small-show opera chorus singer.

It was a GREAT wedding, musically.

Brian Michael Page said...

I've had my share of good singers and good musicians from the outside as well - but the typical is still a dud. In fact, the last funeral where I had to take a bench fee, the organist, supposedly a 40-year veteran of "music ministry" made the Rodgers sound like a dang Hammond, or worse - maybe a Lowrey. Melody on the great, chords on the swell and very heavy on the tremulants. It was awful. And the singers:
PLEASE JOIN IN SINGING OUR GAAAAAAAAAATHERING HYMN, HERE I AM, LORD, NUMBER... (I wanted to tell them in a not-so-polite way that there is no such thing as a gathering hymn, but the flautist was the dead man's daughter)

Choke, barf (cough never got a chance). Lucky for them my pastor was away.