The Magnolia Brass Band
Music to Celebrate a Life
"The Magnolia Brass Band really lifted
our spirits at a family funeral.
Everyone - from family members to friends and neighbours -
commented that it was a wonderful send-off for a loved one."
Funerals with music are traditional everywhere. In New Orleans this music is most famously provided by traditional brass bands, in what is sometimes called a "Jazz Funeral."
Today, funerals are often viewed as "Celebrations of Life." While mourning the loss, family and friends join together to remember the joy they had - and still have - in knowing their departed loved one.
It is important both to grieve and to celebrate, and a New Orleans Jazz Funeral is built to help friends and family do both. Detailed plans are of course worked out in consultation with family and clergy; the funeral is after all the family's event, and by no means does the "Jazz" element dominate unless that is what the family wants. But that said, typically the "Jazz" elements of a Jazz Funeral might go something like this:
The brass band often begins before the service, playing slow hymns such as What A Friend We Have In Jesus and The Old Rugged Cross, or secular songs like Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight? Sometimes the brass band might accompany the deceased into the church, again at the family's preference. As the service proceeds, the brass band may play further selections as prearranged, perhaps intermixed with other music from an organist, piper or singer.
After the service the brass band might play one more slow hymn, then break into a more up-tempo, joyous hymn like Just a Little While To Stay Here or When The Saints Go Marching In, or perhaps a secular tune like You Are My Sunshine. Typically the brass band then accompanies the deceased out of the church, playing all the while, and followed by the family, friends and congregation.
Again according to the wishes of the family, the brass band may continue to the interment to play a final farewell.
The New Orleans Jazz Funeral tradition has helped people grieve and lifted spirits for over a century. If you think it might be right for your family, please don't hesitate to get in touch.