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Angels In America-The Threshold Choirs

Last night I had the honor of taking a 4 hour workshop with the creator of the Threshold Choirs, Kate Munger. Kate began these choirs throughout the USA approximately 4 years ago and today there are 80 of them. She is also creating the choirs overseas. Says Kate, I’ve sung in choirs since high school, and singing has been one of the most important threads that run through my life. In (about) 1975, I started (very tentatively) leading monthly rounds singing circles. Gradually that expanded, I began to write rounds, make friends with other rounds writers and lead larger groups. After 25 years, I had enough contacts and confidence to begin to think about this more specific project, the Threshold Choir.

During the workshop, Kate asked for volunteers to be sung to. I immediately raised my hand and walked over to a special chair that simulates bed side singing for hospital patients at Sloan Kettering either in the recovery or the dying process. I laid myself in the chair, not knowing what to expect, and then 2 of the choir members, including Kate, sat by my side singing a lullaby to me that must have lasted about 2 minutes. My eyes remained open and the next thing I knew there were tears running down my cheeks. I truly felt that I was in a room filled with angels. When Kate and the other singer finished singing there was not one sound in the room. I had given myself totally to the experience and received blessings beyond belief.

Here is one personal story: The red-tailed hawk (May, 2005, Kate)

I want to tell you the story of singing as Laurel’s family said goodby to their Grandmother Kay.

Kelsey, Khalila and I sang “We walk not into the night, we walk but toward the stars” as the simple coffin that the family had decorated was placed at the entrance to the crematorium. The family joined us right away, a great group of strong singers. They held each other and sang as the box went into the flames. Then, outside, we sang “If not love, what are we here for?” Then we sang “It hurts to know we’re losing you, don’t want to make you stay, so we will hold you while you fly away.” Right above us a beautiful red-tailed hawk appeared, hovering, motionless except for the very tips of her wings which held her in place.

For about a minute, we sang as we watched her float above us, everyone calling out to the spirit of their mother/grandmother/friend. Then the bird tucked her wings and steeply dove out of sight. One of the little children called “Grandma, come back.” She instantly reappeared and hovered again, this time for longer, maybe 4 minutes while everyone marvelled, clapped, and sang. I acknowledge this family for the clarity with which they released their Grandmother and know that everyone will be able to feel her presence and spirit in their hearts, especially when they see a red-tailed hawk riding on the wind.

If this choir speaks to you, write to Kate and ask her if there is a choir in your neighborhood.



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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2009 at 11:23 am and is filed under Industry News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Angels In America-The Threshold Choirs”

  1. ruth kohake Says:

    You are so right, Sherri. I am one of the singers and we sing with the intention to create a space for the person. After we finish a song, there is often a palpable feeling that is like coming into a clearing and a patch of sunlight. that warms you inside and out.

    Thank you for sharing.
    Ruth Kohake, RN

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