Yay!, of course we could have told him...
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Yay!, of course we could have told him...
May 14 2009, 05:31 PM
Joined: 12-January 04
From: S E England
Member No.: 413
"The music the machine plays is dull and uninteresting, and the tin-like sound is just dreadful" - Vicar Brian Stevens rues the replacement of the crematorium organist with a karaoke machine.
Tony Edwards has been playing sombre tunes at cremations for 13 years, but now the crematorium has decided that a Wesley Music System is a better option. Now Mr Edwards is only available as a paid-for extra.
More details (Daily Mail)
(from the bbc news site)
May 14 2009, 11:48 PM
Joined: 29-November 07
From: Beddington, Surrey
Member No.: 20603
It is often worse than this.
Recently, one of my professional colleagues asked me if I would play the organ for her father in law's funeral service. I readily agreed, only to be told that there was no organ at Harlow Crematorium.
The family therefore took along CDs of the accompaniments of the three hymns to be sung. The first hymn was played fine. For the second one the Crematorium staff did not play the accompaniment only version the family had provided, but played a choir singing different words to those in the service paper. The service paper had Bunyan's 'Who would true valour see' whereas the Crematorium staff played some cathedral choir singing Percy Dearmer's rather clumsy paraphrase, 'He who would valiant be' which the deceased and the family specifically did not want. The family had to stand listening. They could not join in because the words were different. The Crematorium staff then refused to play the third CD because it had been down loaded from the Internet. The family had paid for the download and had the receipt. The Crematorium staff said that was irrelevant. It was not their policy to play downloaded items in case it corrupted their CD player. Had I known of this I would have borrowed a portable keyboard and played it all myself.
Last January I played the organ for the funeral service of my wife's cousin at Havant Crematorium. The previous funeral had a bagpiper. This wretched man walked up and down outside the chapel playing loudly (and in my opinion offensively) throughout our service, so that it was almost impossible to sing the hymns the deceased had carefully chosen for his own service. It was appalling. The Crematorium then had the cheek to charge Â£28 for the organist. Of course, I had charged nothing for playing. I only got to know of this because I was Executor of the Will and thus saw the funeral bill. (You can imagine the correspondence that ensued!)
For my mother's funeral in 1989 the organist at Exeter Crematorium completely ignored the specific requests for music and merely churned out what seemed to be a meandering improvisation of very poor quality and riddled with musical infelicities. It was most regrettable as my mother was a very fine pianist and greatly appreciated music, as did the congregation, including my father, my wife and me. Had we known the playing was likely to be that atrocious we would have asked one of the organists from Exeter Cathedral to come and do the job properly.
At one time they had an organist at Croydon Crematorium, (his name is now well known in certain music circles,) who was notorious for playing unsuitable and unhelpful music. It was even mentioned at Clergy Chapter meetings. Eventually he was asked to leave. He was replaced with a more mature musician who took immense trouble in every detail to help families have the music they wanted. It was a matter of frequent comment that his music was invariably helpful and always sensitively performed. Families appreciated the time he took in preparation. Clergy and funeral directors engaged his musical skills to considerable effect.
Unfortunately, the bad events are not isolated incidents. The attitude of Crematorium staff often seems to lack care and compassion. Happily, there are still some places where great care is taken, but they are fewer these days.
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