We’ve met some lovely people around the area, many with interesting jobs, but Robyn is well known and admired by many of you for fulfilling a very special vocation. Here she tells us how it came about…
“I am a professional Funeral Singer. I first started in pre-school when the family car’s radio broke. I then became the ‘radio’ and sang songs when travelling in the car. In Kindergarten, my teacher would play piano and get me to sing solos while my class played percussion. I thought it was ‘normal’ back then.
I’m a classically trained soprano and attended the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. I studied voice and performance/music for many years under several greatly acclaimed teachers. My singing styles include classical, contemporary, soft jazz, swing, modern hymns, sacred songs, operatic arias and popular hits.
There have been many highlights along the way. I’ve sung overseas in Europe, and have had solo performances here at the Sydney Opera House, Martin Place and Government House. I was also a guest soloist with the Defence Force Regimental Band at regal and official functions, and a soloist at St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney for over 10 years (for weddings, funerals and large community celebrations). I’ve also done voice-over work in film and TV commercials. And I’ve also worked as a high-school singing teacher.
I’ve also sung for royalty, celebrities, politicians and even a secret service agent. People trust me to work closely with them when organising private occasions … as the saying goes “what goes on tour, stays on tour”.
Being a professional Funeral Singer is a unique occupation. However, having a live singer at a funeral creates a better ambience than recorded music. I can make a difference helping people through what is a very stressful and sad time. Each funeral is very personal to me. I take the pressure off friends or family trying to sing at such an emotional time by liaising directly with them on all aspects of the musical components. Sometimes I’m asked to step in at the last moment to sing that special song the deceased loved.
I do hear some very sad stories, and people need to talk so I listen. It’s my job to maintain a strong yet refined, compassionate and level-headed support network for grieving families and their friends. I represent not only myself but the family who have engaged me to sing for them and the Funeral Directors who often recommend me.
As I have been singing professionally since a young age, nothing much phases me. There have been occasions when I’ve been required to sing standing next to an open coffin, and other times the eulogies have been absolutely heart-wrenching. I just focus on supporting the families and mourners by singing well and presenting professionally to create a more uplifting yet dignified ambiance.
I feel very privileged having the ability to sing and bring comfort to people at such a sad difficult time in their lives. I get great satisfaction knowing I help people celebrate the life of their cherished loved one in song and music.”
Robyn can be reached via her website www.funeralmusicsydney.com.au for short audio and video samples of her singing, list of songs/hymn suggestions, biography, referees and testimonials. Or contacted on 0418 973 656.