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Santa Barbara's Threshold Choir
updated: Dec 03, 2011, 9:15 AM
For the women vocalists of Santa Barbara's Threshold Choir, singing isn't about performing. It's not even about entertainment. It's about sharing music with those who could use some help.
The choir has sung at the bedsides of countless locals, from hospice residents at Sarah House to members of their own choir who are injured or ill. The women meet twice a month to rehearse a capella songs from their lengthy repertoire, which they share with Threshold Choirs in other regions. Then, free of charge, they visit the bedsides of those who are struggling, singing for as long as they are needed.
Sometimes, the calls to visit come from loved ones, but often they come from caregivers and staff who notice someone who is particularly anxious or in pain. Once they arrive at the bedside, a member of the group takes on the position of "Song Mother" and decides what songs to sing as well as whether to sing in unison or harmony, in words or in "oohs."
The choir spreads the message about their free-of-charge work through word of mouth. To find out more or request a visit, contact the Threshold Choir of Santa Barbara at 805-322-3558.
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The Threshold Choir was founded by Kate Munger in the Bay Area for the purpose of continuing the ancient tradition of women singing at bedsides. Members go to homes, hospitals, and hospice facilities, usually in groups of 2 to 4, to sing for those who are seriously ill or dying. The intention is to replicate the sound of a mother singing to her child. The Santa Barbara choir is one of over 100 choirs across the U. S., with a few in other countries as well. The choir practices on the 1st (and 5th) Friday of each month at the Friends (Quaker) Meeting house. On the 3rd Friday of each month, the choir sings in the living room at Sarah House. The choir is open to all women who feel called to this form of service, who can carry a tune, hold a harmony part, and blend with other voices. There is no charge for bedside singing; it is a gift.
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