Published
2 March 2023

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My Fantasy Funeral

Nadia Simon

Marketing Manager Nadia Simon shares her idea of a perfect send-off

I am very proud of being a jazz singer as well as working at St Christopher’s, and have being involved in that sector of the music industry for over 30 years under the name ‘Aydenne Simone’. The home of jazz is widely accepted to be New Orleans, logistically speaking – however, if you consider that drums were (and still are) part and parcel of the language in Africa, in particular West Africa, then we get to delve even further back to find its true origin!

The drums in question were used to communicate between African tribes, who used codes that were understood between each tribe. Approximately 12.5 million Africans between the 17th and 19th centuries were forcibly displaced, and by the early 1800s over half a million Africans were brought to the United States where they were made to work on Southern plantations. Having been torn from their homeland and its familiarities, it is not too difficult to imagine that the rhythm of the tools used by the slaves in the plantation fields eventually evolved into a regular beat, and later of course came the work songs to accompany it. 

My dream funeral honours both the African and South American heritage of jazz, and is probably best described as New Orleans meets Croydon in the wildest march ever known!

Nadia Simon, Marketing Manager

I originally fell in love with jazz at the age of just 6, after my father gave me a birthday present of a Sarah Vaughan album ‘You’re Mine You’ produced by the great Quincy Jones (famously co-producer of much of Michael Jackson’s famous works, many incredible albums, and of course the TV theme tunes to popular shows like ‘Ironside’ and ‘The Cosby Show’). 

My father himself played sax, clarinet, piano, guitar, banjo, and mandolin, and I was exposed to the best in jazz from a very young age thanks to him. Luckily, my mother also loved jazz and jazz singers, and every weekend the house was filled with the beautiful sound of Sarah Vaughan, Julie London, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Brook Benton, Sammy Davis Junior, Louis Armstrong and many more.

A fabulous celebratory New Orleans style funeral would therefore pay homage to my life, my childhood, my father, my mother, all the greats that have influenced me, and all the incredible musicians that have played with me over the past 30+ years. 

It is important to me that a funeral represents who the person was, and for most of my adult life, I have been a band leader – so what could be better than leaving this world to the sounds of all of them together, playing their hearts out and causing a merry mayhem in my name!

Nadia’s story originally featured in our latest issue of Connect, St Christopher’s brand-new biannual magazine which is out now – pick up a copy from our Sydenham site or our shops, or email fundraising@stchristophers.org.uk to be added to our mailing list!

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