Standing ovation for deceased musician Rudy Hammond (66): “He got up with a smile and went to sleep with it” (Ghent)

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Thank you for the music. To the melancholy tones of Abba, a packed full house in Lochristi’s crematorium said goodbye to Rudy Hammond on Thursday afternoon. “Everything had to make way for music,” says Christelle De Mulder, who shared the stage with the Ghent musician for forty years.

Christelle De Mulder (center) with orchestra leader Bobby Setter on the left and his daughter Karin on the right. — © fvv

It seemed appropriate, then, that Rudy Hammond, whose real name was Ramont, died “in harness” right after stepping off the stage. “We had performed for seniors from Okra at Hotel de Lourdes in Oostakker and had just loaded the last box when it collapsed,” says Christelle. “It was horrible.”

And unexpectedly, too, because although Rudy had been diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, his outlook was brighter again. However, a sudden cardiac arrest put an abrupt end to all plans.

Mussels by the sea

All speakers testified about the good character of Rudy Hammond. “He was always smiling,” said another Ghent folk artist, Patrick Fakkel. “He got up with a smile and went to sleep with it. And colleagues were friends too.”

The hall was packed for Rudy Hammond's funeral.

The hall was packed for Rudy Hammond’s funeral. — © fvv

For orchestra leader Bobby Setter, who gave Rudy his first chances in the 1970s with his orchestra De Apollo’s, Rudy is “one of the last scions of the live orchestras that would grace a ball somewhere every weekend”.

Folk cuisine

But Rudy was also a great cook and devoted himself to helping the less fortunate in a community kitchen in the Bloemekenswijk. “And if someone asked him to come and install a false ceiling, he did. Without wanting to be paid for it.”

“Fourteen days ago we ate mussels by the sea with the family,” his brother said in his farewell speech. “That day there were tears in Rudy’s mouth. Laughing, of course…”

He then asked those present to stand up and honor Rudy with a fitting farewell for an artist: a standing ovation.

Rudy Hammond gets his final round of applause

Rudy Hammond gets his final round of applause — © fvv

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