Our choir is in the planning phases for the 2019 Southwest Regional Gathering and we are excited to share that Melanie has agreed to be our song leader in Tucson for the weekend. If you’re not yet familiar with her, we encourage you to give her work a listen. She is a brilliant vocal activist whose own website says it best:
Whether she’s performing solo, leading stick pounding workshops , doing residencies with choirs all over the country or teaching Sound Awareness to sixth graders, baby boomers, or senior citizens, one thing is certain: her mission is to make sure you unlock the key to experiencing yourself in all your Glory and return home with the very same excitement and passion for living that she herself has. When she comes your way, her energy will charge the very air you breathe like a meteor shower, so get ready to rise up!
Here is a sample of her voice, get ready for goosebumps!
Exciting update! We are an active choir – very active in singing bedside – although not always up on our blogging. Here’s news from this summer, as written by Jennie Boulet:
“A week ago, three of our Tucson singers returned from Threshold Choir’s all choir gathering in Portland, Oregon – a wonderful opportunity to be with 300 choir members from across the US and Canada, as well as singers from Australia and the UK! (Threshold Choir International now has over 2,000 members and 153 chapters – with more new chapters launching soon.)
Consistent with the theme of “Strengthening Our Connections . . . Savoring Our Song,” we sang and sang and sang, inspired by the richly talented Threshold Choir leadership and renowned singers and vocal coaches Melanie DeMore and Charles Williams. We talked and shared and developed our skills in “making kindness audible” through bedside singing. As one of the lucky attendees, I know there is nothing like having been there – but for just a taste of this delicious celebration, please check the recent posts at Threshold Santa Rosa Facebook Page.
And, as always, we welcome all interested to join us in offering (or receiving) the healing gift of song.”
When singing for people at life’s thresholds like we do in this choir, we often find ourselves singing for patients who are terminally ill, receiving care from a hospice team: physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, CNAs and volunteers. Many times a request for Threshold Choir bedside presence will come through a hospice volunteer coordinator, volunteer or social worker. A hospice patient for whom we sing may be living in their own home, with family members offering caregiving and presence. Or a patient may be living at a fully staffed residential care home, assisted living facility or hospice inpatient unit.
Threshold Choir members come by invitation to these settings, to ‘make kindness audible’, singing in small groups to patients and their families.
As the KQED piece is titled, Threshold Choir “brings songs of comfort to the dying.” Yes, we do. And not only to the dying, but to the people who love and surround them, as well as to ourselves. Singing this way is a reciprocal experience of comfort and life affirming presence.
Tucson, Eastside, Threshold Choir member, Pam Ballingham, cordially invited, Joan Brundage, who took training classes with the Music for Healing and Transition Program.
Joan shares her training and experiences and her musical background as applies to ministering to those who are undergoing a transition such as the process of dying, illness or other debilitating trauma.
Two of the many examples Joan shared were the importance of having an awareness in selecting an appropriate song (tone, rhythm, variation etc.) for the one being sung to. And she stressed the importance for the singers to prepare themselves emotionally, physically and psychologically before they share in song.
We thank Pam for recognizing Joan’s knowledge and talent and arranging for her to share them with Tucson Threshold Choir in continued conscious giving in song from birthing, in between and to one moving through time.
In our process to re-learn a song we gathered together sharing our input, those of us with trained musical eyes and ears and those of us with an intuitive sense.
Both have passionate intention of fine tuning the song yet allowing the flow of the nature of the song to occur while giving to the person being sung to the sensitivity and soothing of soul as one moves through time.
This is so exciting: you can listen to our founder, Kate Munger, being interviewed on an “All Things Considered” segment here. As I listened to the radio this afternoon in my kitchen, I felt my heart race when I heard Kate’s voice and happily began singing along with Threshold Choir sisters as the piece aired.
During this season of gratitude, a path in my life for which I am most grateful to walk is being a part of the Tucson Threshold Choir. (Based on recent emails to each other over the holiday, I think many in our choir would agree!) When Kate mentions in the story how singing bedside is more of a form of prayer than ‘performance’, in response to Arun’s question about it being kind of stressful, I felt tears well up in my being.
“Yes. Thank you, Kate!” I said aloud. And felt a huge swell of gratefulness to her: thank you for bringing the possibility of your songs to so many of us across this country.
Whether our choir rehearses together in the Little Chapel of All Nations or sings in an ICU hospital room, care facility dining room, inpatient hospice hallway or silent bedroom of a home . . . singing for the dying and their caregivers – or even sometimes for ourselves – is a tender experience. A delicate and sacred unspoken kind of prayer is woven throughout our songs.