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Funeral Music and the Transformation of Southern Musical and Religious Cultures, 1935-1945

Funeral Music and the Transformation of Southern Musical and Religious Cultures, 1935-1945 KRISTINE M. MCCUSKER Funeral Music and the Transformation of Southern Musical and Religious Cultures, 1935–1945 William Leonard Bivens was a thirty-year-old foreman at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Memphis when he suffered a heart attack and died in June 1944. Bivens left a wife and son who chose the National Funeral Home, a funeral home for whites, to provide the funeral service and then bury him. On its ledger, the funeral home listed the music to be played. During the service, the organist was to play two hymns, “Sunrise Tomorrow” and “God Will Take Care of Thee.” The prelude was to be “Old Rugged Cross,” a Broadman Hymnal (Southern Baptist) standard made famous in the early twentieth century by evangelist Billy Sunday, and the postlude was Brahms’s “Lullaby.” The musical program performed at Bivens’s funeral was emblematic of fundamental changes in Southern funeral music: from 1935 (the begin- ning of the funeral home’s records) to about 1943, customers who buried their kin from the National Funeral Home requested rural hymns, songs such as “Old Rugged Cross” and “Sunrise Tomorrow.” But in 1943, a shift began that became far more pronounced in 1944 when the funeral home’s organists began http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

Funeral Music and the Transformation of Southern Musical and Religious Cultures, 1935-1945

American Music , Volume 30 (4) – Aug 4, 2013

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349

Abstract

KRISTINE M. MCCUSKER Funeral Music and the Transformation of Southern Musical and Religious Cultures, 1935–1945 William Leonard Bivens was a thirty-year-old foreman at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Memphis when he suffered a heart attack and died in June 1944. Bivens left a wife and son who chose the National Funeral Home, a funeral home for whites, to provide the funeral service and then bury him. On its ledger, the funeral home listed the music to be played. During the service, the organist was to play two hymns, “Sunrise Tomorrow” and “God Will Take Care of Thee.” The prelude was to be “Old Rugged Cross,” a Broadman Hymnal (Southern Baptist) standard made famous in the early twentieth century by evangelist Billy Sunday, and the postlude was Brahms’s “Lullaby.” The musical program performed at Bivens’s funeral was emblematic of fundamental changes in Southern funeral music: from 1935 (the begin- ning of the funeral home’s records) to about 1943, customers who buried their kin from the National Funeral Home requested rural hymns, songs such as “Old Rugged Cross” and “Sunrise Tomorrow.” But in 1943, a shift began that became far more pronounced in 1944 when the funeral home’s organists began

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Aug 4, 2013

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