BTS News — August 2017

Dear Friends of Bellingham Threshold Singers,

Buy a slice of pizza and support the work of Bellingham Threshold Singers! We have arranged for a fundraising event on Sunday, August 20, from noon to 7 p.m. at Goat Mountain Pizza, 211 Holly Street in Bellingham, which will give us 15% of their food sales between noon and 7 pm. Thank you, Goat Mountain, which also offers whole pizzas, salads, and drinks. Rumor has it they have the best salads in town! You can see the whole menu at

Members of the Singers will be on hand during the event to answer questions and talk about our service. Bring friends and family!

If you are not able to stop by on that day and would still like to help BTS raise funds, you can go to the BTS website at and make a secure online tax deductible donation. But it’d be more fun if you dropped in for a chat.

All Choir Gathering (ACG) in Portland last month: Four of our members joined over 300 members from the US, Canada, Australia, England, and New Zealand. Melanie DeMore, who has written many Threshold songs, was the keynote speaker, reaffirmed our sisterhood as a core value. Some observations from those who attended: BTS is a leader in being organized, having trainings, manuals, procedures, guidelines. Our bedside practice is more flexible than many other choirs, e.g. some will not deviate from a preset song list (we adapt to the client as we go); some will not sing for people with dementia (we often do); some do not provide much bedside singing training (we require extensive training for sails and anchors). One of our attendees came up with her wording of a mission statement: Our mission is made audible and is demonstrated and presents as authentic by the quality of our songs and our voices, and by our focused and respectful attention.

Much information, through many workshops and conversations, was shared between the choirs, which our attendees have brought back to share with BTS. A topic of wide interest was how to deal with aging members when their voices no longer work well at the bedside. Kate Munger, founder of Threshold Choir, was blunt: that time is coming for all of us, sooner or later, and when it does, we must stop going to the bedside. Of course, there are many other ways members can support our mission. Part of our challenge is figuring out how to help people make that transition.

Next year’s All-Choir Gathering will be held in Boulder, CO. The next NW regional gathering will be hosted by BTS in the Fall of 2018. We hosted in 2016, and were rewarded with accolades. The exact dates have not been set, and the organizing group is exploring sites.

Sisterhood celebration in May: One of our members hosted a party to celebrate our sisterhood, good food, good company, warmth. There were discussions of “feedback.” Before the party we wrote, if we wanted to, appreciation notes to each other which were gathered in large envelopes to be distributed that evening. These warmed the cockles of our hearts. Conversation is necessarily limited at rehearsals; we need to connect to each other socially, as friends.

This summer, so far, we have sung at 82 bedsides. We continue to visit Hospice House once a week, Stafholt and St. Francis twice a month, and clients in various adult family homes regularly. Since our last newsletter, two more members have become Sails and one has become an Anchor. Congratulations to Erika, Gracen, and Mary! Our membership holds steady at 38.

A note on fundraising: While we are a relatively small group, we do have expenses—phone, printing, bringing in outside rehearsal leaders sometimes, training materials, e.g. CDs, and making attending events like the ACG possible for members. We do not require dues, not wanting to limit our membership by financial situations. We do accept donations, and occasionally apply for grants. Donations are tax-deductible—we are happy to provide you with an official receipt.

On that note, thank you for your friendship and support. See you at Goat Mountain on Sunday, Aug. 20. That’s amore!

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