As Benicia’s unofficially anointed “funeral player,” Annabelle Marie performs on piano, violin and vocals in at least 30 funerals a year, maybe more.
Since her 31-year-old son, Cirque de Soleil acrobat and actor Raphael Cruz, died suddenly of an undiagnosed heart ailment in Paris on Jan. 24, it’s become difficult getting through the five funerals she’s been hired to play.
On Tuesday, she struggled with “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan.
“It reminds me of Raphael,” Annabelle Marie said. “I think of him when I sing that song because he was alone in his apartment when he died.”
A public memorial and sundown ceremony honoring Cruz and his achievements is Saturday, 4 p.m., at his father Francis Cruz’s home, 719 Primose Lane in Benicia.
At least 250 people are expected from all over the world, Annabelle Marie said, since her son trained and had temporary residence in Montreal and worked frequently in Paris. Noted Benicia musicians Peppino D’Agostino and Jeff Campitelli will perform at the tribute.
It’s one memorial, obviously, that Annabelle Marie wishes was not going to happen.
Link to Full Obituary at The Times-Herald.