BTS News — March 2018

Dear Friends of the Bellingham Threshold Singers,

We have sprung forward. Actually it seems that we are always moving forward, instituting new ideas to make us better at bringing comfort through song. We continue our twice-weekly visits to Hospice House, and so far this year we have sung for over 150 people there and at other facilities and homes throughout Whatcom County.

We are in the running for an award to local non-profits from Bob Wallin Insurance, possibly up to $2000. The award depends on how many votes we get. You can help! Go to bwicares.com and follow the instructions under the Nonprofits tab to vote for BTS. The deadline is March 31. Thank you to BWI for supporting community and to you for supporting BTS.

More donations for BTS–from Amazon Smile. If you order from Amazon, switch to Amazon Smile and indicate you’d like 0.5% of your purchase to be donated to Bellingham Threshold Singers. That’s the only difference between Amazon and Amazon Smile. For the rest of March, your first smile.amazon.com purchase will result in a 1.5% donation amount. Now, Smile! 

We’ve begun a new way for songs to become part of the repertoire. Song Lab has been meeting once a month for a while, fielding suggestions of songs: something one of us has heard, an added verse, a harmony, or a song written by a member. Four songs, including three composed by members, are being introduced in rehearsals in the coming months.

Bedside singing, as you know, is a specialty. To practice as realistically as possible, we’re having 2-hour long Bedside Practice with Harmony sessions for those who want them, using an actual bed! We talk about when harmonies are appropriate, and then practice singing them with mindfulness, exploring how positioning singers and the anchor may affect the sound, how anchors’ signals help (or hinder) her leading, and more. We practice a song’s prescribed harmonies at rehearsals now, discouraging free-lancing. 

Fun, Frivolity, & Friendship will reign at a party April 17. We want to emphasize the sisterhood aspect of our mission. Rehearsals are not conducive to conversations that go deeper than “how are you?’ There simply is not time enough. So we’re gathering to talk to each other and discover other commonalities than being part of BTS. A potluck with fire-roasted meat, conversation, laughter, and even some singing!

On a more philosophical level we have been defining “repertoire.” Some choirs sing only songs that are part of the official Threshold repertoire. Others include additional songs. BTS calls these our “Familiar Songs,” previously Extended Repertoire. We sing to many people in various stages of their lives. Familiar songs, like folk and popular, can be a comfort, and when clients can sing along, it’s especially beneficial. 

March 21 was the 18th anniversary of the founding of Threshold Choir by Kate Munger. From a single chapter in the Bay Area of California, it has become Threshold Choir International, with over 150 chapters in the US, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Cambodia. New chapters are forming in Mexico and the Netherlands.

Our rehearsal leaders will join with representatives from many of these choirs at the All-Choir Gathering, which will be held in Boulder, CO, June 20–24. In our next communication, we’ll include some reports from our members who go to the All-Choir Gathering. Enjoy Spring and all its promise!

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