The passing of a band member (somber subject)

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by connloyalist, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. connloyalist

    connloyalist Pianissimo User

    May 1, 2006
    Sorry to hit this forum with such a somber subject, but I awas wondering what (if any) customs there are in other places and bands when a band member passes away.

    The reason I bring this up now is because in one of the two community bands I am with a gentleman who has been a member for 60 years is expected to pass away any day now. He has asked us (the band) to play at his funeral, and I personally consider it a duty to do so with the band. I have gone through a similar situation twice before, once with a funeral and a few years ago with a cremation. Probably the most difficult playing situation you can have, but in my opinion very important.

    Any experiences people would like to share?

    Regards, Christine
  2. Dave

    Dave Guest

    This past school year, we had a beloved teacher and coach pass away. Our school's band played at the memorial service. It was a very moving experience for me and my students. It was not just a responsibility to do it, but an honor, and an experience that I will cherish. It was heartening to see students playing with tears running down their cheeks. Music is so powerful. I know that the students felt good to be a part of a tribute to such a great man.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    If you are sitting, you might want to consider putting out "his" chair and a stand, but leaving it empty. If standing, create an empty space where his was. When someone passes it does leave holes.
  4. Hillbilly_Jazz

    Hillbilly_Jazz New Friend

    Jun 25, 2006
    Southern Illinois
    I'm sorry to hear about your fellow band member...

    When I was in college I played in a little jazz group we called the "Hillbilly Jazz Club" (the spirit behind my user id). Mark, our bass player, died in an auto accident and his parents asked that we play a couple songs graveside at his funeral because music had been such a big part of his life. We sat a chair out front of the band with a closed songbook on a music stand and a single rose on the chair. We all dressed in black with a black satin armbands.

    We tried to reproduce a New Orleans Jazz Funeral (although only one of us had ever seen a real funeral procession in New Orleans). We played a very slow and somber version of "I'll Fly Away" and "Just a Closer Walk with Thee", then we sped it up a bit with "Amazing Grace". When the minister ended his final prayers and people started leaving, we payed a really bouncing version of "Down By The Riverside" - we just kept playing it over and over until the last people had gotten to their cars.

    I'll never forget the songs we played as they just didn't sound the same without the thump of Mark on bass. His parents told us later at their house that it was just so wonderful and that they knew Mark was playing right along with us up in heaven.

    It was one of the last gig's I ever played as the band broke up about a month later...

    Even if the band plays something special, it will mean a lot to your friends loved-ones and to you.
  5. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    Unfortunately when you get to be my age this happens. We filmed a big band Christmas show for public television quite a few years ago that is still shown each season. Two trombones and two saxes are no longer with us. It is both sad and joyous to see them playing with us again.

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