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Playing at funerals, a word of warning!

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
As a sax player, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.

I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my sax and headed to my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”

Apparently, I’m still lost… It’s a man thing.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Was in the pub last night with an equally aged wrinkly.

Drew his attention to a real couple of lushes and said "That's us in another twenty years." That's a mirror." he said.
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
Was that the same pub where you approached two young women and said I wanted to buy them lunch, Bill? I thought that was another pub we were both barred from.
 
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Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
Slightly more seriously, an ex-colleague of mine died a few weeks ago. Literally larger than life (over 20 stone once) and lived it to the full. Sadly I didn't know he was a jazz fan until his family told me they wanted a New Orleans flavour to his funeral - no black ties, but rather coloured shirts and ties (and there were yellow daffodil lapel flowers for us all) and the music he loved. I thought this might mean a pick-up band following his cortege and I would have felt very proud to take the sax and be part of it. But it was only recorded music at the crem and wake. However, has anyone on here actually played at a funeral?

YC
 

cshimmon

New Member
Messages
24
Slightly more seriously, an ex-colleague of mine died a few weeks ago. Literally larger than life (over 20 stone once) and lived it to the full. Sadly I didn't know he was a jazz fan until his family told me they wanted a New Orleans flavour to his funeral - no black ties, but rather coloured shirts and ties (and there were yellow daffodil lapel flowers for us all) and the music he loved. I thought this might mean a pick-up band following his cortege and I would have felt very proud to take the sax and be part of it. But it was only recorded music at the crem and wake. However, has anyone on here actually played at a funeral?

YC
Not on sax, but frequently with an SA band.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
I played at my dads funeral. It was very difficult but something that I felt very honored to do. Dad loved my sax playing so it seemed quite fitting! By the time I'd finished there wasn't a dry eye in the church.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,630
Slightly more seriously, an ex-colleague of mine died a few weeks ago. Literally larger than life (over 20 stone once) and lived it to the full. Sadly I didn't know he was a jazz fan until his family told me they wanted a New Orleans flavour to his funeral - no black ties, but rather coloured shirts and ties (and there were yellow daffodil lapel flowers for us all) and the music he loved. I thought this might mean a pick-up band following his cortege and I would have felt very proud to take the sax and be part of it. But it was only recorded music at the crem and wake. However, has anyone on here actually played at a funeral?

YC
My ex-partner's father played sousaphone in a New Orleans trad band- evidently funerals were one of their regular gigs......
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,667
Yes I had to play soprano as part of a service. Two tunes Il Silenzio and the Titanic theme both requests both solo. My knees made a good but somewhat frenetic rhythm section. I have never felt so exposed in my life.
 

Lelly

Scarily Tall!!!!
Messages
167
The best emotional responses I ever had were when i was a lot younger. I used to play clari in our local pub (just for the experience). One night a rather inebriated friend of my dad's asked if i would play Danny Boy. When i stayted the pub was noisy. By the time I finshed it was silent and all you could hear was grown men sniffing! The power!

Another time was Christmas and I was a good friend of the vicar (he liked to come round for a pint and to play jazz piano - really cool guy!). Anyway, we set it up that i would sneak into the church on christmas eve ahead of the midnight service and hide in the lady chapel. Then, at 5 to midnight he said a few words and switched all the lights off, just leaving the star at the top of the tree. I then played Silent Night unaccompanied and apparently from nowhere. I don't think the village had ever felt the christmas spirit more!

That wonderful viccar was later drummed out of the village after he got me to play artie shaw jazz in the church!

Lxx
 

Lelly

Scarily Tall!!!!
Messages
167
That plus talking to the guides and scouts abt the facts of life!! The village elders decided he was not suitable.......
 
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