bonny brent funeral

Deceased Toronto musician sits behind drum kit at his own funeral

Today in going out with a bang, we have Toronto's own Brentnol "Cabbage" McPherson — aka Bonny Brent — a world-renowned Guyanese-Canadian musician who recently "performed" for the last time ever... at his own funeral.

Friends and family gathered at Covenant Funeral Home in Scarborough on Saturday, April 24, to send off the lifelong drummer, who passed away at the age of 68 following a battle with cancer.

The funeral service, which was livestreamed, was traditional in many ways (save for COVID safety measures), featuring religious rites, readings, speeches and musical tributes.

What was less traditional — and incredibly memorable — was the visitation that took place ahead of the funeral, during which McPherson's body was presented in a seated position behind a set of drums bearing the words "Bonny Brent, 1952 - 2021."

Wearing a bright yellow and surrounded by flowers, McPherson held his drumsticks one last time during the visitation, bringing joy into hearts of his family and friends.

"Today we did something little bit different, as Bonny is a good friend of mine," explained Covenant Funeral Homes director and owner Luann Jones in a video later posted to YouTube.

"We wanted to maintain and keep his legacy going," said Jones, noting that McPherson's was the home's first-ever staged visitation, "whereby it's personalized and displays the man, who he really was."

"I believe this hasn't been done in Canada yet, so again, we've been blazing the trail, making history."

Making history indeed: Not only is Covenant the first Black-owned and operated funeral home in Canada, Jones just successfully pulled off the type of visitation that people have criticized in the past as "creepy" or "morbid."

Reaction to the staged presentation of McPherson was overwhelmingly positive, with loved ones commenting on Facebook to praise the work as original, and something the deceased would have loved.

Unusual as this type of staged visitation may seem to some, the practice — sometimes referred to "extreme embalming" — has been growing in popularity around the world.

From New Orleans to Puerto Rico, deceased people have made headlines in recent years for appearing at their own funerals on motorcycles, smoking mentho cigarettes and playing poker, among other things they were known to have loved doing.

"Wow! Different to the end my cuz," wrote one relative under a Facebook video of McPherson's visitation service. "I'm pleased that your send off included your favorite color of your first drums. RIP God welcomed you home in glory."

"This is so beautiful, the perfect home going indeed," wrote another. "RIP."

Lead photo by

Covenant Funeral Homes

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