I had the difficult task today of singing for the funeral of a 38-year-old mother of three from who died unexpectedly last Thursday. It was a beautiful, intimate service, attended by so many people who knew her and her family. She was a wonderful wife and mother, and a talented artist, and a bright, warm, kind, and funny person. I’m sorry that I didn’t have the opportunity to know her better, but I’m glad that I could take part in her funeral to support her family and close friends.
I find the Episcopal funeral service to be quite moving, and this was probably the most moving one I’ve ever been to. Paris Coffey, our rector, gave a perfect eulogy, and the whole service was a wonderful tribute to her life.
During the preparation of the table, Kathleen O’Connor and I sang “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”, written by Thomas A. Dorsey (not to be confused with Tommy Dorsey) accompanied by David Anderson, the music director of Ascension Church, Oak Park. I had mixed feelings about taping it, but Kathleen and I don’t sing duets very often, so I decided to capture it. For those who are interested, here’s the link:
I don’t have any wise words, or observations about any of it other than that. There are no wise words. Just a tremendous sadness for the family she left behind, mixed with gratitude for the wonderful church family of which I am a part, and which provides tremendous support for me and my family when we need it, and for others who need it too.
Today was the annual Epiphany pageant at St. Christophers. There is no service which better illustrates the “sacred chaos” of St. C.’s. Despite several hours of rehearsal, most participants aren’t exactly sure what they’re supposed to be doing. Children (usually mine) walk randomly across the altar at inopportune moments. We sing lots of Christmas carols (and unusual for us, we only sing 1-2 verses of each one. I didn’t even know that was allowed.) The church is always packed, as grandparents, aunts, uncles and neighbors come to see the little ones perform. It is wonderful and funny and magical, and brings the Christmas season to a joyful close. It makes me realize, as nothing else does, why we go through all of the hoopla of Christmas.
The high point for me this year was 5 year-old Evelyn winking through her whole performance as the “Head Angel”. As if she was letting us in on her secret.
David was the lead wise man, and did an earnest, diligent, serious job (not surprisingly). Barbara, the “choreographer”, wanted him to be Joseph, but I vetoed it, as I thought it was a Very Bad Idea. Maybe next year. He looked quite regal, I must say:
Margaret was supposed to be an angel, but backed out at the last minute. She looked really cute with her halo and wings, but of course, I didn’t get a picture of it, only these:
I don’t know…I always thought Lessons and Carols was my favorite service, but I might be wrong…
Fred, Deb, Phil, Carolyn
One of the highlights of the holiday for me was last Sunday, when my sister Carolyn and I sang duets in my brother Phil’s church in Shamokin, PA. He plays the organ in a little UCC church. It’s such a small church that the Maue family just about doubled the size of the congregation on that particular Sunday.
Phil is playing the piano in both of these videos, but unfortunately, the Maue Sisters are standing directly in front of him, so you can’t even tell he’s there until the end of the second video.
“What Shall I Give Him?”
“The Gift Of Love”
Next year, we’re going to get my brother Fred and sister-in-law Leta Jo in on the act. Maybe we’ll just take over the service and do a concert. The Maue family…give us an inch, we take a yard.
Other photos from Sunday:
Emma and Fred
Mame and Mom
Filed under Family, Music