Memorial Ceremony for York Local Musician by Yorkshire Celebrant

Memorial Ceremony in York


Tony McCormack – a local legend

Tony McCormack’s Memorial

If you were part of the local music community in York, then you would know Tony McCormack. If you were a punter or a visitor to York exploring the music scene in the city, then you would know Tony McCormack. Tony was truly a legend in York and was known by an uncountable amount of people. Tony’s enthusiasm for performing and supporting live music in the city was immeasurable as was his character. Open mics were regular residencies for Tony and his famous renditions of his own songs and his favourite covers were legendary! Tony’s warm and friendly character was also renowned and the support he constantly gave to music and musicians in the city was flawless. When Tony passed away, his family chose a beautiful natural burial ground for his body to be laid to rest in but due to Tony’s unique popularity, a collective of his friends and family decided that a true celebration of his life was needed and so arrangements for a Memorial Ceremony were made.

A Celebrant Memorial Ceremony

As a Celebrant in York, it was truly and honour to be asked to write and perform the Memorial Ceremony for Tony. As Tony was a night owl, and to ensure that people were able to make the event without having to disturb their work hours, an evening was booked in a local pub which meant that the event was not restricted with time limitations like there are with ceremonies in crematoriums and chapels. Last orders was the only time we needed to be aware of as people were able to have a drink and feel relaxed. With more than the average 30 minutes allowed for funeral services, we were able to combine a full ceremony as well as an open mic session in honour of Tony.


Yorkshire Celebrant – Louisa Starr Starr Gazing Ceremonies

Tony’s Memorial Ceremony

After spending time talking to Tony’s family and collection of many friends, I was able to collect an album of photographs and videos of Tony to create a slideshow that was then combined with the history of Tony’s life. As well as spoken word from myself, we were fortunate to have live music tributes from musicians that knew Tony not only from music connections but also from his charity work. The Communitas Choir started the evening perfectly by singing ‘Lean on Me’ and ‘I can see clearly now’ which immediately had the whole room joining in and raising the spirits. The stories that I had been given in abundance about Tony ensured that laughter as well as many different emotions flowed all night. As Tony was famous for wearing a hat, a vast majority of people came in their hats as a tribute to Tony’s fashion sense! At the end of the ceremony, everybody lit a candle and held them as we all sang Tony’s favourite song that he always sang at open mics. Debra Simpson led the song ‘I can’t help falling in love with you’ and we finished the ceremony with footage from a video that featured Tony. The night continued with an open mic session that allowed musicians to perform songs in his memory. A collection for the charity Mind, was also made on the night as this was a charity Tony supported.

Communitas Choir

Live music made the evening incredibly special. Contributions came from Holly Taymar, Dan Webster, Chris Barnes & Laura Boston-Barber, Debra Simpson and Communitas Choir.

Dan Webster – Dan Webster Band
Holly Taymar – The Bronze
Chris Barnes & Laura Boston-Barber
Debra Simpson

Film of the Memorial

With a Memorial Ceremony, there is the opportunity to film and photograph the event as a momentum and to show to people that may have been unable to make it. Take a moment to watch this short film of Tony’s event as it truly embraces the feeling of the evening and shows how wonderful a Memorial can be. More importantly, it shows how much Tony was loved.

Thank yous

Many thanks are given to the following people for their help, support and contributions to Tony’s Memorial.

Funeral Director:- Rowley & Sons | Venue – Malcolm & Fiona at The Winning Post Pub | Musicians – Communitas Choir, Holly Taymar, Dan Webster, Chris Barnes and Laura Boston-Barber, Debra Simpson | Charity donations to – Mind

Memorial Ceremony Testimonials

”Lou conducted a memorial for a friend and I was overwhelmed by her professionalism and ability to put together such an incredible evening. She drew together content from many different people (some were very last minute!) to deliver a service full of good memories, humour and poignancy. Couldn’t recommend enough” – Laura Boston-Barber

”Louisa organised a memorial evening when our loved one passed away. She is very professional and caring. The evening couldn’t have gone any better, it was a perfect celebration of life. Thank you so much” – Fiona McCormack

Contact Me

Louisa Starr – Starr Gazing Ceremonies – 07881 944827 –

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