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Polite response to news of death morphs into performing at funeral. Help

Post date: 2019-10-29 04:44:42
Views: 7
I responded politely to an email describing funeral arrangements for someone I knew very vaguely as part of a hobby group seven or eight years ago. I hadn't even heard that he'd died. Now I'm getting emails about performing a song at the funeral with a few other members of the group. I wasn't even sure that I would attend the funeral but plans are underway and it seems I've been volunteered. Can I (or should I) get out of this without looking like a dick?

Seven or eight years ago, I attended a weekly performing group for about a year. Last week, the main coordinator for all these groups, who I do not know personally, emailed my cohort plus alumni from the two years above to share funeral arrangement details for one of our group, a man of around 45 who had died suddenly.

I couldn't place who she was talking about initially. Once I'd remembered who he was, I replied to the email saying that I was unaware of his death, thanks for letting me know and to keep me posted on the funeral arrangements. I wasn't sure if I would go along, but thought I might pop by quickly if the service was local and didn't clash with any work.

This weekend I received several emails from the same coordinator discussing the fact that the mother of the deceased was so glad that seven of us had agreed to do a song at his funeral (there was some vague allusion to this idea in the first email) and to arrange a series of rehearsals of said song.

Seven people is already a small number of responses, when perhaps eighty of us or more would have been emailed. One person has already responded to say that she can't manage the rehearsals due to work commitments, but will try to make it on the day. The coordinator herself is saying that she won't be able to make the funeral itself but will come out for drinks post-funeral.

I feel terribly guilty, but I don't want to take time out to go to the rehearsals (more than an hour away by train) and I don't want to perform at the funeral.

There's no nice way to get out of this, is there? But at the same time I'm annoyed with coordinator for promising away my time and committing me to doing this with the man's grieving mother. I already wrote and deleted several emails. Please advise.
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