How to Choose a Funeral Singer
Music and funeral planning go hand in hand. Whether you choose favorite songs of the deceased to play during the memorial service, hymns to go along with a church service, or if you go all out and hire funeral singers for the day, the power of song can go a long way in helping people heal and connect.
Live performances at a funeral are fairly common for those who want a traditional service (or who have a musical family). While it is unlikely that you’ll pull out a full band for a funeral, you can hire a singer (or group of singers) to provide a vocal performance. He or she can sing hymns or memorable favorites, often accompanied by a piano, organ, or other simple background.
Who Should Sing at a Funeral?
For many families, the first choice in a funeral singer is a relative or friend who is musically inclined. Not only will you get a more personalized touch this way, but you can often ask them to do it free of charge or as a favor.
While this can and does work for some families, it is not always the best option. Someone close to the deceased may find their emotions taking over and getting in the way of the performance. There is quite a bit of stress in being the voice of bereavement, and unless the individual has experience performing in public (and at funerals in particular), this may not be the best option.
Third-party singers are an ideal option for this kind of situation. Not only will you get a more professional performance when you hire a funeral singer, but they may provide their own sound equipment and may offer a list of songs for you to choose from. This can greatly reduce your own stress at a time when you may already be fatigued from making funeral planning decisions. In many cases, they will also coordinate directly with the funeral home, which relieves you of the burden of worrying about sound equipment and other audio-visual details.
Although not every city or town will have a professional funeral singer for hire, you can look for:
- Wedding singers
- Vocal teachers
- Church singers or groups
- Musical actors/actresses
You can also ask the funeral home for recommendations, as they may have worked with professional funeral singers in the past.
Costs and Details of a Funeral Singer
If you hire a funeral singer, you will most likely pay anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars, not including any necessary sound equipment that needs to be brought in.
Ideally, they will also:
- Be willing to help set up the stage and tear it down afterward
- Provide a well-rounded list of funeral songs (with musical accompaniment)
- Have a sample of their music on CD or DVD
- Come recommended by someone you trust
- Be sensitive to your bereavement
When you turn hiring a funeral singer into a business transaction, it often makes it easier to let your wishes be known and get the results you want. While a family member may be the least expensive option, most funeral homes recommend you choose someone without close ties to the deceased.