BEST GOSPEL CHOIR SONGS FOR FUNERALS

Church choir music for memorial services

(gravesite photo by GrzegorzPetka at Wikimedia Commons)

(gravesite photo by GrzegorzPetka at Wikimedia Commons)

What should the choir sing at the funeral?

Funeral, memorial service, celebration of life, homegoing. Whatever they call the service, it is one that will be remembered for a long time. A tribute to someone who was a beloved part of a community.

In most Christian funerals, the music selected is hopeful, focusing on the expectation of eternal life. In some instances, the “homegoing service” will be a genuinely uplifting occasion, with feelings of joy and inspiration right along with the tears and memories. And the soul-stirring sounds of gospel music can be an unforgettable addition to the program for any Christian memorial service.

Here are suggestions of some of my favorite gospel songs for choirs to sing during funeral services.

And please, if you have a suggestion for a good gospel choir song for a funeral, please add your song!

Index of choir songs for funerals

Below is a list of the songs that are currently profiled on this page.

With each song I will also give my opinion about how easy or hard each song is for the singers and for the musicians. These difficulty levels are expressed on a scale of 1 to 5, so “1/5″ means that a song is very easy, while “5/5″ means that it is very challenging. In my opinion, anyway; you’re free to disagree.

Click on a title to go straight to that song.

Bye and Bye

by the Georgia Mass Choir

“Bye and bye, bye and bye
When I reach, that home, beyond the sky
The wicked will cease from troubling
And the weary will be at rest
Every day will be Sunday by and by”
An old-fashioned foot-stomper.

Tempo: Fast
Key: Bb

Resource links:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 2/5
  • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? Yes

Going Up Yonder

by Walter Hawkins


Going Up Yonder by Walter Hawkins

“I’m going up yonder,
Going up yonder,
Going up yonder,
To be with my Lord”

This is THE definitive gospel funeral song.

Tempo: Moderate
Key: Db

Resource links:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 2/5
  • For musicians: 2/5
  • Lead singer required? You can get by without one if you need to.

I’ll Fly Away

by Hezekiah Walker


I’ll Fly Away by Hezekiah Walker

“I’ve got a home in the sky
Gonna tell this world goodbye
You see I’m gonna fly away . . .
I will be free, free one day”

A lively song with a contemporary sound.

Tempo: Fast
Key: Eb

Resource links:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 3/5
  • Lead singer required? Optional.

I’ll Fly Away

by Sounds of Blackness


I’ll Fly Away by Sounds of Blackness

“I’m going to fly away
In the morning, children
I’m going to fly away”

A stirring arrangement of this hymn, with a soulful traditional gospel sound.

Tempo: Slow, with a strong beat
Key: Bb

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 2/5
  • Lead singer required? Yes.

I’m Free

by Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Singers


I’m Free by the Thompson Community Singers

“I’m free, praise the Lord I’m free
No longer bound, no more chains holding me
My soul is resting, and it’s a blessing
Praise the Lord, hallelujah, I’m free”

This is an easy one for the congregation to catch onto and sing along.

Tempo: Slow
Key: Db

Resource links:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 1/5
  • For musicians: 1/5
  • Lead singer required? Not necessarily. There is a lead on the recording, but he just sings the same verse that the choir does right after.

I’m Going Away

by Walter Hawkins


I’m Going Away by Walter Hawkins

“I’m going away, I’m going away
To a place, prepared just for me
A special place, I’ll live eternally”

This one is a favorite, especially the final chorus. It has some progressive harmonies, so if you want to do it the authentic way it will take some rehearsal time.

Tempo: Moderate
Key: Db, then Gb

Resource links:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 4/5
  • For musicians: 3/5
  • Lead singer required? Yes.

Jerusalem

by James Cleveland


Jerusalem by James Cleveland

“When the battle is over, we shall wear a crown
In the new Jerusalem”

A stately anthem with lovely harmonies.

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 3/5
  • Lead singer required: You could do it without the lead verse, but it’s better with it.

Soon As I Get Home

by Thomas Whitfield


Soon as I Get Home by Thomas Whitfield

“I shall wear a crown, I shall wear a crown
When it’s all over, when it’s all over
I’m going to put on my robe, tell the story how I made it over
Soon as I get home”

This song has some of the most exquisite harmonies in the whole gospel choir repertoire. It starts gently and builds intensity leading up to a powerful closing.

Tempo: Slow
Key: Eb

Resource links:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 4/5
  • For musicians: 3/5
  • Lead singer required? No.

Till We Meet Again

by Kirk Franklin


Till We Meet Again by Kirk Franklin

“May His peace be with you, till we meet again”

Contemporary sounding, but also touching and sweet.

Tempo: Slow
Key: Eb

Resource links:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 3/5
  • Lead singer required? Optional.

Well Done

by Mark Hubbard


(this is the album that “Well Done” is on; it’s not available as a single)

“What do you want the Lord to say?
Well done, my good and faithful servant
That’s what I want the Lord to say
That is what I want the Lord to say”

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 2/5
  • For musicians: 2/5
  • Lead singer required? Yes, but the lead has a very small part.

This album is out of print, but there are some copies available from resellers. The CD has 9 songs on it; “Well Done” is track #4.

Angels Will Be Singing

by Edwin Hawkins

“Angels will be singin’
Joy bells will be ringin’
They’ll all welcome me when I get home”

It’s really a shame that this song (and album) are out of print.

Tempo: Moderately fast
Key: Bbm

And remember, if there’s a particular song that was a favorite of the deceased, it always makes a touching addition to the music for the memorial service, even if the song isn’t “on topic”.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Psalm 116:15


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1 comment

  1. All great choices of songs. I think it’s also very important to consider the feel of the services as indicated by special request of the family or possibly the wishes of the deceased, prior to his/or passing. The possibilities are endless, but of course, l agree with Joan that there are some varying degrees of difficulty. This is also paramount when learning such an occasion, as a director must always try to strive for excellence.

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