We are a diverse group of women with the shared purpose of singing together to bring comfort to those who are seriously ill or dying. We are nurses, counselors, writers, teachers, administrators, and more. We are loving friends, mothers, grandmothers, wives, and daughters; we know what it is to care for and nurture others.
Many of us have been at the bedside of our own loved ones at their threshold in life. Some of us were not able to be at the bedside in that final hour and desire to be there for others. We are an incredible circle of women. We care deeply. We understand.
In 2000, Kate Munger founded the first Threshold Choir based on the ancient tradition of women sharing their voices at the final threshold of life. During the next several months, seven chapters were started in the San Francisco area, and then others were added around the country and in Canada. As of 2013, there were about 100 chapters worldwide, including some in Australia. Kate continues today as a strong guiding force in all aspects of the movement, including song-writing. More info, as well as links to other threshold choirs, is on their website: www.thresholdchoir.org
The Bellingham group began in late fall of 2007 and was originally called the Bellingham Threshold Choir. In 2011, we changed our name to Bellingham Threshold Singers because we felt it more accurately portrayed to the public what we do. We rarely sing in a large group in public. Instead, we go out in groups of two to four women and sing for one person at a time. Nor are we affiliated with any church or religion, though our repertoire resonates with love and often with a spiritual connection to something beyond our human resources.
In 2010 we decided to pursue becoming our own 501(c)3 nonprofit, and the process was finalized in 2012. This status allows us to apply for grants and to accept tax-deductible donations.
Bellingham Threshold Singers is entirely volunteer run, from the board of directors to the person who answers the phone and the woman who makes copies of our music. Our rehearsals are led by members who volunteer to be rehearsal coordinators for a period of time. We provide our own training to our members who want to become qualified to sing at the bedside.
We are constantly learning. We invite guest directors to lead some of our rehearsals, and we support our singers financially when they take specialized workshops in singing technique, death and dying, dementia or hospice care.
We maintain a relationship with the national Threshold Choir organization. We send some of our members to national and regional conferences and invite founder Kate Munger to teach us more of her magic when she comes to Washington.
We are more than just a group of singers: we are a sisterhood. We rely on each other for support while singing at the bedside and trust each other to be truly present on these occasions. We nurture our interconnectedness by setting aside social times for us to deepen our relationships.
Although our focus is to bring comfort to an individual at his or her bedside, we honor requests to sing at funerals or memorial services. We also participate in community events such as:
- The Hospice Celebration of Light
- The Alzheimer’s Society of Washington Memory Event
- The Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center Caregivers Holiday Craft Fair
- Senior Day in the Park
- Mending Babyloss Remembrance Ceremony
- The Human Race