Once more we attended a funeral at the church my wife was raised in. Just two notes on the connection between music and culture.
As the family entered in a somber manner, the music was highly rhythmical, highlighting the basic fact that the music of Black America still operates on two fundaments: the connection between music and the spirit and the way rhythm dominates, or, as Marshall Stearns imaged it for us: if you give a drum and a clarinet to two Europeans and the same to two Africans, in the former, the drum will accompany the clarinet and in the latter the clarinet will accompany the drum.
Later, at a point in the service, the organ played a lugubrious run of chords, sounding much like the Methodist church of my youth, and then the cowbell and drum kicked in and off we went. The choir is bigger and better than I remember it. This service was much more structured than others and there was very little shouting, nothing like the last service at this church we attended where the shouting was greater than any we had seen in a long time. The deceased was a member of very long standing and of some accomplishment, both professionally and personally.
Despite his supervisory work in nursing at several facilities in the metropolitan area, there were only 2 or 3 Whites in attendance besides the church-related people like Sis. Hall, me, and someone who appeared to be an attendant to a wheelchair bound family member. It amazes me at these funerals that 40 years after Blacks began getting jobs where they work with Whites, these funerals with attendees numbering between four and six hundred people have so few Whites. Of course, this gentleman had been retired a while and that may explain it in this case.