BTS News — July 2018

Dear Friends of Bellingham Threshold Singers,

Time again to update what has been going on with BTS.

Five of our members went to the All-Choir Gathering in June, this time in Boulder, CO. Our president, two shipwrights and two sails met with Threshold choir members from the US and other countries to exchange ideas and songs through workshops. Every choir is different and we learn a lot from finding out how they operate. Several hundred members attend the All Choir Gathering, and that many singers singing in harmony is grand. 

At the end of the Gathering, a community sing was held. Homeless people, people with health crises, and others who were dealing with trauma were invited to attend. They were surrounded by an equal number of singers who sang 16 Threshold songs in magnificent harmony. It was a powerful experience.

Two of our members attended songwriting workshops at the All Choir Gathering. They may bring their songs to our Song Lab, where we screen possible additions to our repertoire. It would be very exciting to have original songs by brand new songwriters!

We are continuing our Bedside Practice sessions, which have proven valuable in refining our bedside technique. Using a real bed and sitting around it as we would in an actual sing allows us to take note of how voices carry, the preferable placement of singers around a bed, and other considerations.

We now have an Appreciation Committee that enhances our sisterhood by recognizing members who deserve praise for their contributions to BTS. In addition, the committee is randomly drawing the names of members to be featured in each of our internal newsletters, with a few questions and answers so we can get to know each other better.

We will offer a workshop at the national Crones Counsel Gathering in Bellingham Sept. 26-30. These gatherings, which have been going on annually for 25 years, honoring the aging woman’s value to society. For further info, see www.cronescounsel,org .

A few of our members have trouble hearing at rehearsals. The Crows have been exploring various ways to help: reserving certain seats for those with hearing difficulties, keeping extraneous sound to a minimum, and providing individual assisted hearing devices. We are hoping to get a grant to help finance the equipment.

We sang at clients’ bedsides 135 times during April, May and June. During that time, we had four urgent calls for people actively dying. When that happens, we mobilize a team of singers very quickly and get to the bedside as soon as we can—sometimes in less than an hour. We can go with as few as two singers if necessary, but we have enough singers that we usually have three or four, even on short notice. It is very gratifying to be able to fulfill these urgent requests.

We suffered a loss in June. Barb Clearman, former Vice President, President and Crow-at-large, died after a short illness. She was admired for her hard work, her organizational skills, her sense of humor, and her authenticity. She was instrumental in the success of the regional retreat BTS hosted in September 2016 in Leavenworth. Some members sang at her memorial. She is missed.

Enjoy the rest of the summer. Be well and be safe.

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