The threshold choir/ singers

Not sure I’ve written about my Nanna my mom’s mom. Well stepmom technically. Anyway she’s like 90 and very sick. She has luckimia but that’s pretty much in remission believe it or not. They keep giving her tons of chemo which makes no sense to me why they’d subject an extremely frail elderly person to all those drugs. Her worst problem is her hip which is basically as bad as you could get. But because she’s so old they’re not doing surgery and she’s in terrible pain.

She and most especially her husband are quite stubborn. Really he is. He comes from a culture where strangers aren’t welcome and asking for help is seen as weakness I guess. He has a good command of English but Nanna doesn’t. He’d rather translate for her than have her use a translator as provided at the hospital/ doctors. Same with not allowing hospice/ nurses ETC into their home.

Which is really sad as he’s in very poor health himself.

Anyway they both loved to go hear me sing at Indian Hill music center where I studied voice for five years. I was looking on their site and found out about this program they have called the threshold choir.

Threshold choir is “honor the ancient tradition of singing at the bedsides of people who are struggling: some with living, some with dying. The voice, as the original human instrument, is a true and gracious vehicle for compassion and comfort.”

So it’s basically a group of singers who go to the bedsides of those who are very sick or dying, usually in hospice or at home/ hospital. Alternatively they also will sing at nurserys to fragile infants. They sing chants, lullabies spiritual songs, and songs they’ve written. It’s meant to be very relaxing and can be a spiritual experience for some, about connecting with good things about their pasts before they got sick, or just connecting with their loved ones in a more profound way.

Families or someone close to the person will call the coordinator who I spoke to the other day who’s so compassionate and gentle. She described all of this so I’m just trying to relay the information here. I’ll be posting links about this in case I forget something. Anyway she would talk to someone close with the person who’s in need. In this case it will be my mom. She’d find out more about my Nanna’s experience now what songs she might like. As Spanish is her first language we’re hoping she can have a song or two in Spanish. They’d then set up a date.

They have three singers come because many songs are in three parts. They stay for 20 to thirty minutes but this is flexible depending on the person’s needs and environment ETC.

These people sound so deeply and transparently caring and compassionate and respectful of the sensitivity of this time for families and of other cultures ETC that I’m hoping it will go well and that even my grampa will soften a bit to the fact that they’re just trying to do good.

One nice surprise was finding out thatone of the voice teachers is the director. She’s someone I studied with for the summer that I first took voice before moving on to what was my permanent teacher for the five years. I can’t think of someone better to do this work. So.

As I said I’m just reading about this and hearing it. I’ve never experienced it as a singer or someone receiving this amazing gift. If anyone has and wants to comment about anything around the process I would so appreciate it.

Below are links and resources.

Indian Hill threshold singers.


Website for threshold choir

Good article

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