|Yang Wenting plays piano in the service hall of Wuchang Funeral Parlor. (Changjiang Daily/Hu Dongdong)|
“It’s a magical road leading to heaven…” in the service hall of the funeral parlor in Wuchang, Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei province, Mr. Chen, over 70, was humming the song “Heavenly Road” with piano accompaniment. His wife was cremated that day. Touched by the soothing piano music, he couldn’t help humming aloud-- it’s his late wife’s favorite song.
A brand new Hailun piano was in the center of the service hall, and the pianist was Yang Wenting, a 24-year old girl who graduated from Yangzi University, major in musicology. In June 2013, she came to work at the Wuchang funeral parlor, playing piano in the service hall for the relatives of the deceased for free.
Yang Wenting said: “The piano music can relieve the pain and express feelings.” Usually she would choose to play heart-warming songs that people are familiar with. Occasionally people would request her to play a certain song. “I play the songs ‘Mother’, ‘Father’, ‘Mama in candle light’ most frequently. If the deceased is middle aged, I would play songs like ‘Legend’ and ‘Blessings’,” She added.
Yang lives in the dormitory of the funeral parlor. Every day, she gets up at 6 o’clock, and plays piano in the service hall from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The funeral parlor is not comparable to the five star hotels, so people would say some disappointing to her, like “You are such a pretty girl, and play good piano. Why on earth do you play in a funeral parlor?” Even her college classmates asked her: “How can you work at that place?”
Yang answered: “I find inner peace here. I am rewarded in another way.”
In the job interview, she played the song “Father”. The director of the funeral parlor immediately decided to employ her and to buy a piano worth 40,000 yuan. Since then, Yang became the first pianist of the funeral parlor.
She soon found her feet in this new job. And after hearing her performance, some people would say “thank you” to her.
Besides playing piano, she is also responsible for the archives arrangement in the funeral parlor.
When she saw a young person or a rich people’s funeral, she would have much reflection: “Cherish life and live happily. Those are the most important things.” Now she calls her parents every day, asking them to pay attention to safety and take care of themselves. She used to hang off the phone first, but now, she waits until her parents hang off.
In the first two years after graduation, she took many commercial performances. “Everyone I met was money-driven. They don’t know what they truly want. Compared with those days, I love my simple life now.”
Her monthly salary is less than 4000 yuan and she has one day off every week. “But I am valued here. I feel needed,” She said. Recently, her coworkers have asked her to give music lessons to them. It’s a precious life experience to work here, she added.
In the letters of thanks recently received by Wuchang Funeral Parlor, many people praised Yang Wenting: she soothed people’s heart by her music. “I didn’t expect that I could be so useful here,” She said.