Often people ask us which is the most popular song we've sung for a funeral, and yes, there is one that is requested far more than most, Schubert's Ave Maria.
Following a close second is the hymn The Lord's my shepherd (Crimond). I think just about everyone knows this as so often it was sung at school and as it is the setting of the 23rd Psalm, we've heard the words read out as well.
What surprised us from the statistics is that we have sung 365 songs and hymns at funerals. That's a piece of music everyday for a whole year.
In fact we've sung 87 different songs and hymns; and of those, fifty of them we've only sung once! So while there are 37 items that have been requested several times, more than half are individual one-off requests. I think this really shows how individual funerals have become now. We are really starting to personalise the funeral service to mean the most to each family.
With so many wonderful funeral songs and hymns around, sometimes it's hard to choose which to have. So, we like to help families with suggestions from our experience, but singing a new piece of music is always special.
And requests often turn out an amazing new piece of music which becomes a favourite just like this one:
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
music by Geoffrey Stephens and poem by Elizabeth Fry.