The Dangers of Recorded Music at a Funeral


The Wizard of Oz is on tonight for the gazillionth time, and it reminded me of a funny story I heard a couple of years ago.  We were in Nashville for a sad occasion — the funeral of a family member.   Debbie was responsible for the arrangements, and we got to know the funeral director pretty well.  He told us this story one afternoon:

A family had made arrangements for the funeral service of the matriarch of the family.  When asked about music for the service, the family commented that their mother’s favorite song was Somewhere Over The Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz.  

Of course, no one could sing it like Judy Garland, so they decided to use the CD soundtrack from the movie.  Somewhere Over The Rainbow was to be played as the casket was rolled into the chapel.  

Everything was ready for the service to begin, and the funeral home started the CD.  But, for some reason the family lingered, delaying their entry and the entry of the casket into the chapel.  Somewhere Over The Rainbow played over the chapel speakers, as the captivating voice of Judy Garland sang a mother’s favorite song.

Just as Somewhere Over The Rainbow was ending, the family was ready, the chapel doors opened, and the casket was rolled in.  Unfortunately, no one stopped the CD.  As Judy Garland’s voice faded away, the next track on the CD kicked in.  Ding Dong The Witch is Dead blared out in the serenity of the chapel to the chagrin of family, friends, and funeral home.  Fortunately, the technician stopped the CD before the munchkins all began to sing in unison, but the damage was already done.  

And that, my friends, is why I do not like to use recorded music at funerals.

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7 Comments

  1. How FUNNY! I have a story of my own to share:

    We have a friend who worked at a funeral home long ago. He was sent upstairs into the attic to retrieve something. Trouble was, the attic floor wasn’t the sturdiest, and the poor guy fell through….. into the open casket of a loved one…… during the funeral….

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