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In Pursuit of Beauty
September 8, 2021

I had the honour to lead farewell and memorial ceremonies this week for someone I got to know through music in our local community.

After being diagnosed with cancer in November last year, David approached me to discuss his funeral wishes. He was a great lover of music, art and photography, appreciating the work of others as well as being talented in all these areas in his own right. It quickly became clear that an underlying theme of his life was the pursuit of beauty. He chose music he wished to be played, all of them pieces written by Brahms, his favourite composer, and at that point was also trying to finish a composition of his own on the piano.

We had a ceremony of farewell at Westerleigh Crematorium in the morning attended by his family. In addition to the music David had chosen, we included an extract from one of his own compositions during the tribute.

In the afternoon, family and friends gathered  for a celebration of David’s life. He wished this to be a joyful occasion and indeed it was. Set in the lovely Matara Centre in Kingscote, David’s favourite Brahms requiem, “Eine Deutsche  Requiem” was playing as people arrived. The room was decorated with examples of David’s paintings and there was a ‘memory tree’ for guests to attach tributes and memories to him for the family to keep.

During the ceremony we remembered and celebrated David’s life and the legacy he leaves; the people he loved, the music, art and photography, his love of all things beautiful, so central to the way he lived his life, and his talents. We listened to one of his compositions in full, which had been recorded for the occasion by a local pianist – no mean feat as the music he composed was complex and technically challenging. He kept a journal during his final weeks and we were able to include relevant extracts from that too, which talked about his love of beauty and the enjoyment he got from sharing it with others. Local musicians, who were also friends, then played musical tributes to round off the ceremony.

David’s wish was that the occasion should be joyous and uplifting. Despite the sadness of his loss, I think we achieved his wish.

More information about memorial and other farewell ceremonies can be found at Funerals and Memorials