Unlike weddings, where there is a standard repertoire for musicians, funerals and memorial services have far fewer standard songs. There are songs like Amazing Grace and Ave Maria that are requested more often than others, but more than anything else, the families usually want the music that the deceased enjoyed listening to.
Funerals are often seen as celebrations of life. We gather to spend time with family and friends and look back at a life we all shared in the memory of the deceased.
In that light, Mr. Lewis has performed many special requests at touching and powerfully moving funerals. One time he traveled to a ranch in South Texas to play “Jesusita en Chihuahua” with a French horn and trumpet duo. The song is a Mariachi song, but the will specifically asked for trumpet and horn (not a mariachi band). Mr. Lewis was happy to fulfill his request.
Nothing is too strange when honoring the life and the last wishes of a loved one.
On another occasion, Lewis was asked to play Reveille at a funeral. There was some snickering among the mourners, but the family was happy that their military father’s favorite “song” was performed at his funeral.
There is no limit to what music can be performed at a funeral or memorial service. Mr. Lewis is ready to provide any music the family desires to honor the life of their loved one.
Although Mr. Lewis never served in the military (he tried to join the army in 1986 but failed the physical exam), he is the son of a career soldier and grew up on military bases around the world. His rendition of taps recalls those days on base when it was sounded every night.
For a musician, Taps is a simple song that even a beginner can play. But the expertise does not lie within playing the notes alone. Taps is somewhat of a contradiction in that it has an emotional element, but the impact of that emotion is more strongly felt when it is performed without emotion. When performed correctly, Taps gives us a sense of distance. It is emotionally cold and it is this coldness which affects us so strongly when we hear it.
This is the way Mr. Lewis plays Taps. Taps is not just a bunch of notes the way a high school student might perform it. Nor is Taps an operatic work with excessive vibrato, the way some other pros might interpret it. It is an understated bugle call that serves as a punctuation to mark the end of a soldier’s life.
If you are interested in hiring Mr. Lewis to play in a funeral, please feel free to contact him with the information listed on this website’s contact page.
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