BTS News — October 2018

Hello, dear Friend of Bellingham Threshold Singers,

Autumn is damp and gloomy (for some), but a good time to find comforting, mindful music. That’s what we do for those who need it especially, in any season.

As of October 1, we have sung 417 times at bedsides this year, 40 in September alone. Thirty-six women are members now. We had 4 guests at our September rehearsals, including 2 from the Madison Threshold Choir in Wisconsin who were visiting 5 choirs in our area to see what our choirs were like before deciding where to retire!

All our rehearsals are open to visitors, whether from far or near. If you’d like to see what we’re about, or refresh yourself with an evening of listening to soothing music, you are welcome to be a guest at a rehearsal. We meet at Jern’s Chapel on James at Sunset, 6:30 – 8:30 pm on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. We ask that you come a few minutes early so we can start on time.

Upcoming events in October include a rehearsal guest conductor, Kri Schlafer, Director of the Portland (Oregon) Threshold Choir. We look forward to her sharing of songs and insights into how another choir works.

On October 30, there will be a Sail Meeting Refresher to look at what is expected of Sails. We are always fine-tuning our services to make them better and keeping Sails up to date with changes in our bedside practices.

Our appreciation committee has been conducting brief interviews with random BTS members that appear in our internal newsletter, helping us to get to know each other better.

Members of our new welcoming committee have been meeting individually with each new member, answering questions and helping her understand how BTS functions.

Six BTS members attended the All-Choir Gathering in Boulder, Colorado in June, among them our two Shipwrights (rehearsal leaders). They reported that the gathering was “delightful in every way.” All the different groups shared their different ways of doing things; our Shipwrights will be incorporating some of these practices in our rehearsals.

BTS member Janis Walworth has had her first song added to the official repertoire of Threshold Choir International. Her song, “Just Relax,” lets clients know what to do as we sing to them. Another member, Brenda Miller, went to a songwriting workshop at the All-Choir Gathering and has already written two songs. We are thrilled to have budding songwriters among us and to be able to contribute songs other choirs can use.

One of our Shipwrights, Wendy Bloom, is directing the newly formed Vox Pacifica (, a women’s choir in Bellingham. Their repertoire will tend toward classical music for soprano and alto voices. The debut concerts will be December 8, one in the afternoon and a second in the evening.

BTS contributed a workshop and songs to the national Crones Counsel gathering in Bellingham at the end of September. The Crones Counsel seeks to promote the crone’s (elder woman’s) position in society—the experience and wisdom an older woman can share with others. Annual meetings have been held in various U.S. cities since 1993. See for more information about this organization.

The Crow’s Nest has been searching for ways to help our members who have trouble hearing at rehearsals. After trying out different systems, we found one that works pretty well and we have gotten a generous grant from the Lion’s Club to pay for it. We’re very pleased that we can make rehearsals easier and more productive for our members, which in turn will benefit our clients.

We held our fourth leadership retreat in September. Crows, Bosuns, Anchors and Shipwrights talked about what we love about BTS and areas where we feel some frustration, and we brainstormed ideas for making BTS even better.

Our Crow’s Nest has carried on despite the loss of two of its six members this year. Barb Clearman died in June and another Crow had to drop out this summer due to health issues. We anticipate more changes at the end of the year as terms end for some Crows, and we are actively looking for new board members now.

If you are the kind who starts holiday shopping this early, and there is someone on your list who has everything, consider a donation to BTS in their name.

Thanks for being our Friend. Have a great autumn!

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