Those on the Titanic Played It Knowing Their End Was Close at Hand.
That last number, “Nearer, My God to Thee” played by the ship’s orchestra just as the Titanic sank was the musicians' prayer in the opinion of E.J. Elliott president of the local musicians union. He said there is a standing rule in the national organization, requiring bands attending funerals of dead members to conclude the rites with that air.
“That is the last thing we play at the grave of a musician--’Nearer, My God to Thee’—and I believe, knowing that they were doomed as the result of their own heroism, the members of the ship’s orchestra thus commended their own souls to their God, giving expression to their petition in the notes of their instruments.”
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