Heartfelt Memorial Services
Your Guide for Planning
Funerals, Celebrations of Life
and Times of Remembrance
Songs for Funerals and Songs for Memorial Services
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• Length - how long is too long for your guests? Do want or need to use all of the stanzas?
• Rehearsing is important
• Quality - can they really sing or play well enough or are you just being kind to a friend to let them perform?
If a friend is a marginal performer, you can have them perform with experienced singe.
• instrumental music is an option when the lyrics may not be appropriate.
• Can they understand the lyrics?
It’s difficult sometimes to understand the pronunciation when some singers perform. We recommend including
the lyrics in your program no matter what the sond is.
• How to say no to well meaning service volunteers. Don't just say know to volunteers. Give them something significant to do. It’s important to let people feel that they are being of service, Especially when they feel indebted to the deceased.
• Upbeat music can still work at a sad occasion service if it is labeled to represent the deceased persons favorite music or his or her way of looking at the world
Music is inspiring. You can stimulate and soothe your guests, invoke laughter or tears with the right melody. Consider the mood you would like to portray when selecting songs for your service. While old hymns and classical tunes are time-honored, don't be afraid to choose something unconventional, assuming it is fitting.
If you are going to play recorded music, it’s important to make a smooth transition to it. Will the CD or other music player be wired into the sound system or will a microphone be needed to place next to it. How will the microphone be positioned for the best reception? You may need a table and mic stand pre set up for this. Have you practiced and noted the best volume setting for the person who will be handling the music?
You will help set the tone of the service by playing various kinds of music as guests are arriving. Remember it’s background music, so play it softly enough so that people don’t have to raise their voice to have a conversation while they gather for the service or when they leave.
Choosing instrumental versions of religious hymns is one of the ways to reach a compromise of different faith traditions.
Hiring an accomplished student performer is one way to get a live performance inexpensively. Contact the school instructor for contact information and to have them rehearse the performer. Be sure to send reminders if you are booking them well in advance and have a backup plan. Ava Maria is a favorite for doing this.
Obviously taking into account any favorite music of the deceased is important.
If the person played in a group or with friends, including them in the service adds to a personal touch and enables more people to share in expressing their feelings and connection to the deceased. Make sure they have the microphone set-ups they need and understand the time constraints you have planned.
Other characteristic of our selections are ones that:
•lend themselves to soloists
•have lyrics that are more easily understood
•aren’t too long 1-2 minutes
The music in this list was selected by us because of its’ universal appeal, rather than specific to any one faith tradition. Doing a Google or Youtube search will reveal many lists of songs that meet religious preferences.
The songs with Beverly's name are a bit more spiritual / religious than Dave prefers, but still within Beverly's comfort level.
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - Monty Python Affirmation - Savage Garden
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Amazing Grace (Beverly)
Angel - Sarah McLachlan (Beverly)
Angel of Love - Cecilia, Album - Inner Harmony
Angels- Robbie Williams (Beverly)
Arms Wide Open - Creed
Baby of Mine - Bette Midler
Beautiful Boy - John Lennon
Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion
Borrowed Angels - Kristin Chenoweth (Beverly)
Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
Bright Eyes - Art Garfunkel
Butterfly Kisses - Bob Carlisle
Child of Mine - Carole King
Circle of Life - Elton John
Come Sail Away - Pirates of the Caribbean
Come Some Rainy Day - Wynona Judd
Dance with My Father - Luther Vandross
Everybody Hurts - REM
Fields of Gold - Eva Cassidy
Fly - Celine Dion (Beverly)
Forever Young - Rod Stewart
Goodbye My Lover - James Blunt
Happy Trails - Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (Beverly)
I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
I Will Remember You - Sarah McLachlan
I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack
I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing
If I Ever Had to Say Goodbye to You - Helen Reddy
I'm Your Child - Barry Manilow
In My Daughter's Eyes - Martina McBride
In The Arms of An Angel - Sarah McLachlan
In My Life - The Beatles
It’s a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
Let It Be - The Beatles
Longer - Dan Fogelberg (Beverly)
May It Be - Enya
Memories - Barbara Streisand
My Way – Frank Sinatra
Nothing Compares To You - Sinead O'Connor
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep - Twila Paris
On Eagles Wings (Beverly)
One More Day - Diamond Rio
Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland
Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Pleasure and pain - Ben Harper
Rainbow song – Kermit the Frog
Return to Pooh Corner - Kenny Loggins
Seasons in the Sun - Terry Jacks
Simply The Best - Tina Turner
Skin (Sarabeth) - Rascall Flatts
Smile - Rod Stewart
Somewhere Out There - Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
Spirit In the Sky - Norman Greenbaum
Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton
Time in a Bottle - Jim Croce
Time to Say Good by – Sarah Brightman
To Where You Are - Josh Groban
True Colors - Cyndi Lauper
What a Wonderful World - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
When the River Meets the Sea - John Denver - Muppets
When You're Gone - Avril Lavigne
Who You'd Be Today - Kenny Chesney
You are so beautiful - Joe Cocker
You Raised Me Up - Josh Grobin
You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry and the Peacemakers
You've Got a Friend - James Taylor
Dave: Changing a few words can transform a song from spiritual to secular (see examples below):
• Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
(change last line - just two words to make it secular)
Thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.
I give thanks for you, the wind beneath my wings.
(Change just one word here to change the meaning)
God knows how I miss you,
Nobody knows how I miss you
Beverly. Special music may be needed for a miscarriage, stillborn, newborn, infant.
Baby Mine - Bette Midler (to see this poignant video rendition from the Disney movie, Dumbo, .go to
Get a tissue first There are a few variations of this on the web..
He's got the Whole World in his Hands
If I were a Butterfly
This Little Light of Mine
Angel – Sarah MacLachlan
Arioso - Bach
Ave Maria - Bach
3rd Symphony Op.55 in E-flat, - Beethoven
Raindrop Prelude - Chopin
Piano Sonata No.2 Op.35 in B-flat minor - Chopin
Cello Concerto - Elgar
Pavane - Faure
Meditation - Massenet
Laudate Dominum - Mozart
Adagio - Mozart
The Swan - Saint-Saens
Gymnopedie - Satie
Ashoken Farewell - Jay Unger