Layton’s state funeral will feature much music

Since Jack Layton’s passing on Monday, his friends and colleagues, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, have made note of his love of music, and music will play a big part in his final farewell Saturday.

Toronto singer Lorraine Segato was a close friend of Layton and she’ll sing Rise Up, the 1983 hit she had with The Parachute Club, at the state funeral at Roy Thomson Hall.

“It was the family’s wish that this song happen and I’m singing it with the [Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto] and we’re going to do a gospel version of the song,” she said.

Former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page will perform Leonard Cohen’s classic Hallelujah at the service.

Canadian saxophonist Richard Underhill, the founding member of the Shuffle Demons, will be performing The Magnificent Cat.

“We’re going to end with Hymn to Freedom by Oscar Peterson, on the organ, which I think is going to be very stirring,” Wayne said.

Layton will be eulogized by Steven Lewis, a former Ontario NDP leader and internationally-renowned voice on AIDS/HIV in Africa, Karl Belanger, his longtime press aide, and his two children, Michael and Sarah.

Layton’s widow, NDP MP Olivia Chow, will not be speaking live, but will appear in a video montage.

There will be 16 honorary pallbearers, including former federal NDP leader Ed Broadbent, former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow and Canada’s ambassador to the United States Gary Doer.

Cyclists also plan to honour Layton during the funeral procession, and are encouraging everyone to ring their bells at 2 p.m.

The former city councillor not only talked the talk, but walked the walk, so to speak, when it came to cycling. He was often seen pedaling across the city and was a strong advocate for cycling infrastructure.

The People’s Procession will follow the official procession and will include citizens walking with their bikes. Well-known cycling advocate Yvonne Bambrick is a co-organizer of the event.

“The bicycle is such a human scale mode of transportation and he was open to people and I think this is a nice way for us to carry along and follow him to the funeral [at Roy Thomson Hall],” she said.

The funeral procession will leave city hall at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday and will travel the following route: west on Queen Street, south on University Avenue, west on King Street and south on Simcoe Street.

The state service starts at 2 p.m. and is expected to last about an hour.

There are about 600 spaces available at Roy Thomson Hall for the general public. Wristbands will be given out starting at 8 a.m. Saturday on King Street outside the hall to reserve those spots.

For those who can’t sit inside, four large television screens will be set up in David Pecaut Square (formerly Metro Square). And from coast to coast, Canadians will be watching the Toronto ceremony at designated locations in their cities. Click here to see the list of events.

Here are the full details of Layton’s service:


Samuel Barber, Adagio for Strings G.F. Handel, Pifa from Messiah
Members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
Richard Underhill

The Magnificent Cat
Richard Underhill

The Choir of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto

O Canada
Joy Klopp

Aboriginal Blessing
Shawn Atleo

Welcome / Bienvenue
Rev. Brent Hawkes
Anne McGrath

Philippians 2
Nycole Turmel

Isaiah 57-5
Myer Siemiatycki

Qu’ran 2:153
Tasleem Riaz

Martin Deschamps

“Together, we’ll change the world”

Stephen Lewis
Karl Belanger
Mike and Sarah Layton

Steven Page

Rev. Brent Hawkes

Rise Up
Lorraine Segato

Rev. Brent Hawkes

Get Together
Julie Michels

Hymn to Freedom
Chris Dawes

In keeping with Layton’s wishes, the program ends with a chance for those assembled to write down something they will do to make the world a better place.

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