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Threshold Choir singers bring comfort in final days

December 9, 2019

At the bedside of the dying, a final gift of song

Walking each other home: this organization of a cappella singers brings peace one patient at a time.

We stand in humble awe of the commitment to service embodied in Threshold Choir singers, a network of more than 2000 voices in 213 local chapters around the world. Founded in 2000 in California, the organization trains small groups of singers to be “a calm and focused presence at the bedside, with gentle voices, simple songs, and sincere kindness.”

“When we are invited to a bedside, we visit in groups of two to four singers. We invite families and caregivers to join us in song or to participate by listening. We choose songs to respond to the client's musical taste, spiritual direction, and current receptivity. Many of the songs we offer are composed by Threshold Choir members specifically to communicate ease, comfort, and presence. Because our songs are not religiously oriented, our singing is appropriate for those who are deeply spiritual, whether religious or not.

“A session typically lasts about 20 minutes; if there appears to be benefit, we might sing longer. Using soft, lullaby voices, we blend in harmony or sometimes in unison, if that provides the most comfort. We offer our singing as gentle blessings, not as entertainment, and we are honored when a client falls asleep as we are singing. Most of our songs are very short, so their repetition is conducive to rest and comfort.”

This experience may feel familiar to many Barbershoopers who have performed in nursing homes and hospitals, but the ongoing sense of mission for Threshold Choir is truly inspiring. See more stories at their media page or find out how you can sing, too.