Music is, I believe, God's eternal balm for our soul. It is my hope and prayer that the suggestions I offer on this page help and comfort you in your deepest times of sorrow. It is also my hope that you find the right songs that celebrate the life and memory of your loved one. You are ever in my thoughts and prayers.
Songs that Celebrate Life...
A Ministry of Teresa Thomas Music...
It has been a privilege to serve so many when they have gone through the darkest of times: the loss of someone beloved. It is a very stressful time - and to have to plan a memorial service can seem overwhelming in the midst of grief. If you have lost a loved one and need assistance choosing songs for a memorial service, I am here to help you. Below, I offer consultation on how songs are typically placed in a memorial service, as well as song suggestions that include audio/video links to help you in your decision making process. I may be available to sing/play for your memorial service if my schedule permits. All I request is a donation to my ministry. (As a full-time staff member with ACT, Intl. your donation is tax-deductible.)
What I Offer..
* I am able to sing most songs requested, including non-religious music. If you shared a favorite song with your loved one, I can learn it, even if sheet music is unavailable;
* I am both the singer and the piano player - you do not need to hire an accompanist;
* I am able to sing some songs in Spanish, Italian or Hebrew (audio music and lyrics for the song may be requested to be provided by you with a minimum of 3 days before the Service);
* Two-day's notice is requested, if possible, to allow for sufficient preparation.
“"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." ”
— Matthew 11:28
Planning Music for a Memorial Service
Typically, a memorial service can include several songs, but the choice is up to you. Some suggestions for where in the service or what types of songs to consider are:
1) Pre-service instrumental music to be played as people are being seated;
2) A favorite worship song or hymn that starts off the service, which can either be done as a "special music" song or congregational (with everyone joining in);
3) A song that was a favorite to the deceased, or which is special to family members or friends;
4) A song (either sung or instrumental) during communion (usually a hymn or worship song)
5) A song to close the service (hymn/worship song/special song) (often a congregational song);
Some churches require songs be pre-approved by the pastor/clergy. In addition, some churches only permit their own cantors/singers/musicians to play for a memorial service. Please do consult with the church to confirm, if necessary.
“When choosing songs, please also consider the amount of time other elements within the service are going to take.”
Memorial Song Suggestions
(Click on Song Titles to hear audio samples)
Songs I Have Written and/or Recorded:
Give You Rest by Teresa Thomas
A Sacred Lament by Teresa Thomas
Rest in Jesus, by James G. Deck; Music by Teresa Thomas
Video w/lyrics: Rest In Jesus
Jesus, I am Resting, Resting by Jean S. Pigott, 1876; Music by Teresa Thomas
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say by Horatius Bonar
Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus by S. Trevor Francis, 1875, Music by Thomas J. Williams
Songs Performed by Other Artists:
I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me
Held by Natalie Grant (this song was written for a baby that passed away)
Blessings by Laura Story
Death Be Not Proud by Audrey Assad
It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford, Music by Philip Bliss (recording by Audrey Assad)
Softly and Tenderly by Will L. Thompson
Abide With Me by Henry F. Lyte, 1847; Music: "Eventide", by William H. Monk, 1861 (recording by Audrey Assad)
For instance, if you will have a time where friends can share special thoughts about their loved one, that typically takes 10-15 minutes, or more. In addition, some church communion services are lengthy if it is open to everyone present. So, if there will be lengthy elements to the service, a fewer number of songs might be a better choice.
Memorial services are held in a variety of places, but the most common location is a church or funeral home. Some locations provide a piano and sound system, and some do not. It is a good idea to inquire of your singer/instrumentalist as to what they require, to avoid any surprises on the day of the Memorial Service. Most guitarists, harpists or other instrumentalists prefer to bring their own instrument but require a sound system. Some piano players do not own their own portable keyboard, so it is necessary to inquire whether or not they will need one.
I have also had folks contact me in shock at how much some singers and musicians charge for their services at a Memorial Service. Might I share why that might be? Much pre-preparation is needed for life's many events. Please do consider that your musician/singer's time is not just required during the 'designated hour' on the day of the Service, but that they are learning songs or practicing songs for your service which takes several hours of their time beforehand, and often with not much notice. They have also spent incalculable hours practicing their instrument to get to a skill level where you would want to request them. The more skilled they are, the more they are worth. So, if you decide to hire a musician or singer for your service, please consider their fee probably includes pre-service preparation and practice time, as well as travel time to and from the service.
I have sung for Memorial Services across multiple denominations and am happy to answer any questions you might have. Please contact me using the Contact Form on this page.
“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee do go, rest of their bones, and soul's delivery. Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well and better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, and death shall be no more; Death... THOU shalt die. ”