Sunday, July 10, 2011

30 Songs in 30 Days, Day 24: A Song That You Want to Play at Your Funeral

Song: "You Are the New Day"
Writer: Peter Knight
Ensemble: The King's Singers
Album: New Day

Peter Sellers is the all-time champion of this game. The great comic actor requested that Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" be played at his funeral as a final joke for his friends. They all knew he hated the song!

Funerals are not for the deceased. They are for the survivors. I hope to live long enough and well enough that when my time comes, the occasion can be seen as a celebration of life rather than a gloomy reflection. Mourning loss is a healthy, human necessity but with each ending is a new beginning.

I have performed "You Are the New Day" as both singer and conductor. It is a puzzling song - deeply spiritual, while never referring to a deity by name. Ultimately, it is a song of renewal and if my wife, my daughter or anyone should mourn my passing, I would wish for them to wake up the next day reminded that life lies ahead with new chapters yet to be written.

As a musician, the most enjoyable aspect of the song is the equality of the vocal parts. No one gets cheated. The Bass I part is just as much fun to sing as the Alto II part. Soprano I is just as satisfying as Tenor II. All are synthesized into a glorious whole. Take my word for it, that's difficult to find in a choral arrangement. The only other piece that I can think of that's comparable in that respect is "Carol of the Bells" by Leontovych.


I hope you'll join us for the "30 Songs in 30 Days" challenge, inspired by the tumblr list. Our 30 Songs roster:

Stay on target...
Marc Whitman's Blog
Haley says "Hello" To You

It's never too late to post your own. Tomorrow is...

Day 25: A Song That Makes You Laugh


  1. I had not heard the Sellers' anecdote...

    The irreverent nature of Graham Chapman's funeral has always appealed to me....

  2. Video didn't work, I had to pull up a fragment on iTunes. From what I heard, I really liked.
    I just don't know about songs and funerals. We played my grandma's favorite song at her funeral, which was by no means a sad or morose song, and all of us still burst into tears as soon as it started playing.

    1. Yeah, that video's been dead for a while. I should maybe update a few of these...

      We sang "Ode to Joy" at my grandmother's funeral. She was 89, she was ready to go and she loved Beethoven. So there, universe!