A melodic sound softly begins to rise as your tired eyes, bones, and heart begins to respond to life and feeling. The gentle voices of the Threshold Singers have the ability to awaken the soul and body, unlike any other healing process. It is entirely communal while simultaneously personal, and anyone in the presence of their music will benefit from their support in song.
“Threshold Choir’s mission is to sing for those at the thresholds of life. Their goal is to bring ease and comfort to those at the thresholds of living and dying. A calm and focused presence at the bedside, with gentle voices, simple songs, and sincere kindness, can be soothing and reassuring to patients, family, and caregivers alike.” – Threshold Choir
TRU Community care is fortunate to have the Threshold Choir volunteering as a service to our families and their loved ones. The Threshold Choir International (TCI) is a nonprofit with over 200 chapters globally, equalling about 2,300 members. Kate Munger, Founder of TCI, travels around the country to rally attention and support for Threshold Singers and in 2012 she hosted an event in Boulder, Colorado.
We had the opportunity to interview four of Boulder’s Threshold Singers, who often sing for the TRU Community. Sally Kornblith, Patricia Petersen, Linda Klein, and Brenda Rowe sat down to talk and sing for us in early May of 2019. After meeting Kate Munger at the event in Boulder, Kitty Edwards and Brenda Rowe co-founded the Colorado Chapter called the Boulder Threshold Singers with Patricia Petersen in 2013. They continuously have 13-25 members annually and serve communities throughout Boulder County.
Patricia Petersen, the co-Founder of The Threshold Singers, tells us how she came to know this was something she needed to do.
“In 2012, my partner, Robin, was dying of cancer. I and three other people would sing for her for hours every Sunday, and it was the only thing that would take away the pain. It was noticeable. Music was so important to Robin.”
Individual threshold members have written and created a large repertoire of hundreds of soothing, comforting non-denominational songs, perfect for bedside singing. From these, the Boulder Threshold Singers have learned 70 of those songs (to date) for their repertoire. They also continue to learn and add more songs. Singers are required to go through a vetting process that makes sure participants are capable of providing not only beautiful sounds but an experience that is soothing and supportive of their community. When they sing, they get close and create a supportive and gentle environment. They sing wherever they are needed – at homes and hospitals in Boulder County, wherever hospice patients are being cared for, and at TRU Community Care.
“People are uncomfortable with death, not knowing what to do with themselves. People often feel like they should take care of you, asking if you’d like something to eat or drink…trying to make a situation comfortable that just isn’t comfortable. So, we sing. The room begins to let go and able to breathe.” – Says Sally, describing a memorable Threshold moment.
Members of the Threshold Singers often find themselves a part of this singing community out of their own experiences with grief and death. They say their work is “a giving circle” and a form of reciprocity. They feel they are equally – if not more – benefiting from their songs as a form of healing. Their music tangibly fills the air with peace and freedom to let go of whatever anyone may be holding on to. We are grateful to have them as a part of our services and look forward to the stories that are built by their songs over the coming years.