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A Different Funeral

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  • A Different Funeral

    I was asked to play for a funeral today. So, wanting to be prepared, I made my way to the church yesterday to familiarize myself with the organ. It was a nice 3 manual Casavant. I did my usual diagnostic checks to see what shape the organ was in, and familiarized myself with the instrument. </P>

    So I made my way to the church today about an hour before the funeral starts. The daughter of the person for whom the funeral is for tells me that they were unable to get the casket into the church because itwas a bit too wide to fit through the doors. They tried to remove the door beam, but no matter what they did it was futile. The Funeral Director suggested that they go back to the funeral home and have the service in the chapel. The daughter declined for reasons which I found out after, so I'll tell you when I get to the end of this story. </P>

    So the bishops and priestsconducted the funeral service outdoors. </P>

    Picture a busy major street with transit, motorcycles, cyclists, cars, etc. driving by, pedestrians walking past, stores, etc. As the people and cars go by, many of them look at the casket that is outside, an altar, and lots of people sitting in chairs. Not something you'd normally see! </P>

    I jokingly said to the Funeral Director beforehand, "boy, what I'd give for a blow torch so we can cut that door beam and get inside the church." She said, "You and me both." By the way, she was the nicest and friendliest Funeral Director I've ever met. She was also expecting. I thought later, thank God she didn't go into labor at the funeral! That would have been intersting. Use my musical andnursing skills at the same situation! </P>

    I played on a Roland keyboard near a garden. Nice garden, but I really couldn't see the congregation. I brought organ music with me, so yes, you guessed it, whatever pieces I played were either what I knew from memory or something I improvised on the spot. I had to hold the hymnbook with one hand at times because the wind kept blowing the pages, and those keyboard stands are flimsy. Good thing it wasn't raining either! I also had to brush a few ants off. </P>

    The service went well. The Funeral Director said to me afterwards, "I've never been to a funeral like this before, but it all worked out." I agreed. </P>

    They alsoopened the casket briefly (as requested by the family) for a last goodbye at the end, but I didn't go have a look. I'm glad they decided not to have the viewing before the funeral service as originally planned. I don't think an open casket outdoors with a restaurant across the street, etc. would have gone over too well. </P>

    So what did I learn from all this:</P>

    1. Having a funeral outdoors on a major street is excellent Christian witness.</P>

    2. Always bring organ AND piano music with you. If not, as long as you can improv on your feet and you keep your piano skills going, you'llbe okay. So for anyone out there who practices exclusively on the organ, you may want to diversify. I diversify out of necessity as an accompanist and some of the last minute requests I get like Clair de Lune by Debussy. </P>

    3. I still would have preferred to be in the sanctuary with the 3 manual Casavant! Which reminds, me: always have a good sense of humor! </P>

    4. If you are planning a funeral, make sure the casket can fit through the doors. </P>

    The reason why the daughter didn't want the funeral in the chapel was her mom said to her, "The only people who get buried in a funeral home are people who don't belong anywhere." While some may see this as a strong statement made by someone, I can't help butunderstand her point. A funeral service in a church feels a lot more Christian than in a generic chapel. I don't mean to offend by saying this, only that I can understand what she meant.</P>

    It's a good thing they turned down the chapel for another reason. There were too many people. They wouldn't have all fit in the funeral home chapel. </P>

  • #2
    Re: A Different Funeral

    Did they try turning the casket sideways? That church must have awfully small doors.</P>



    • #3
      Re: A Different Funeral

      This is all rather curious and vaguely disturbing. [:S] </P>

      Cremation would have solved the problem, but it is not for everyone. [:|] And it's not really a last-minute fix either. [8-)]</P>

      [quote user="ReedGuy"]It's a good thing they turned down the chapel for another reason. There were too many people. They wouldn't have all fit in the funeral home chapel. [/quote]</P>

      I guess that would be another point:</P>

      5. If you are planning a funeral, make sure the chapel can accommodate the number of anticipated guests.</P>

      You deserve a gold star for going above and beyond the call of duty!</P>


      • #4
        Re: A Different Funeral

        [quote user="davidecasteel"]Did they try turning the casket sideways?[/quote]</P>

        Eek! That wouldn't be pleasant.</P>

        [off-topic] David, I've left you a PM.</P>


        • #5
          Re: A Different Funeral

          [quote user="soubasse32"]

          Cremation would have solved the problem, but it is not for everyone. [:|] And it's not really a last-minute fix either. [8-)]</p>


          I've heard stories about crematoria not having big enough ovens/furnaces, such that the coffin can't fit in it.[:S]</p>

          Apparently (from what I read in the newspaper) crematoria oven manufacturers are getting a lot of orders in for oversized XL ovens.
          1971 Allen Organ TC-3S (#42904) w/sequential capture system.
          Speakers: x1 Model 100 Gyro, x1 Model 105 & x3 Model 108.


          • #6
            Re: A Different Funeral

            We had a prominent person in the county die, and they were planning to have the funeral at the funeral home. The croud was too large, so they had it at our church. They asked me to play background music. No problem, I seldom turn down an opportunity to play. The sad thing was; the service was just as if it were in the funeral home; i.e. no singing. There was over 300 people in the church and NO SINGING! Nothing sounds better than a full sanctuary singing.