[Dixielandjazz] Strange Gigs - Gypsy Funeral

SLGTJB slgtjb@earthlink.net
Mon, 12 Aug 2002 09:59:51 -0600

Strange Gigs.

A couple of years ago, a funeral director phoned and said a local Gypsy
family had a death and had requested that we play for the viewing and

When we arrived at the funeral home on a crisp December morning, we found
people with coolers of drinks and food gathered around the open casket.  The
instructions from the son of the deceased was "don't play any sad music".
We played our upbeat tunes and even threw in some Christmas stuff.  "When we
start to the church I want you to play that ugly song (which turned out to
be Chopins dirge)".  Tuba banjo and the three front liners marched behind
the casket playing dum dum de dum, dum de dum de dum de dum.  Gmin I think.

We then drove to the big Cathedral where they insisted that the group climb
the several flights of stairs with the casket while the band played "happy
music".  It was cold, early mid December and we were already into our
Christmas stuff... so we had already played "Santa Claus is coming to town"
at the funeral home.    Our next job was to play more happy music at the
doorway when the mass was over while they hauled the casket out and down the
stairs, And then to break into "The Saints" when they arrived at street
level.  "What do you want as the doors open?"... he said "play 'Here comes
Santy Claus'".

The mass ended... the bells were tolling... we struck up "Here Comes Santa
Claus".  The doors burst open and the priests were leading the procession,
smoke and banner furling.  Both priests looked at us, rolled their eyes
heavenly....     and the band played on.

Final.  We all drove to the gravesite where the body would be buried at a
later warmer time.  They rolled the casket out a bit from the back of the
hearst and we played "Bye bye Blackbird" as they poured cans of coke onto
the ground where it would be opened.

Just another typical Utah gig for the Salt Lake Good Time Jazz Band!

Cary Hobbs