Opinion

VOLUNTEER VIEW: Bellingham Threshold Singers offer songs of final comfort

Bellingham Threshold Singers was established in 2007 and had about 33 volunteers in 2014.

Purpose: Bellingham Threshold Singers is an all-volunteer organization consisting of about 40 women who go in groups of three or four to offer soothing singing to individuals who are critically ill, struggling to live, or nearing the end of life.

Our mission is to relieve distress, pain and anxiety with comforting song — to bring ease and peace at life’s thresholds. We have a unique repertoire of soft, lullaby-like songs, which we sing unaccompanied by musical instruments.

We are part of an international network of Threshold Choirs and are not religiously affiliated. There is never a charge for our service.

We are called by family members and caregivers to sing for people in care facilities, in the hospital, or in their homes in Whatcom County. We currently make more than 50 bedside visits each month. We also honor requests to sing at vigils, funerals and memorial services.

Volunteer highlights: We are a sisterhood of singers and other volunteers who believe in the power of song to bring comfort and peace. Our members learn and practice a repertoire of songs, many written by threshold singers. They undergo training to become bedside singers and then bring their gift of song to our clients. Each one is an outstanding volunteer.

Every sing is a special occasion for us. We assemble a small group of singers, sometimes on short notice, and prepare ourselves to be fully present for our client. We position ourselves around the bedside, and with loving intention focused on our client, our lead singer begins to hum or sing and the other singers join in. We stay usually 15 to 20 minutes and then slip away quietly. We don’t expect attention or applause. We consider it an honor to be invited to witness these threshold moments in our clients’ lives.

Wish list: We would like help locating grants or other funding sources to supplement the donations we receive so we can meet our operational expenses. We need fundraising ideas that don’t burden our singers, who are already doing so much.

Volunteer needs: In addition to women singers, we welcome women who don’t sing and men to serve as volunteers. We are seeking a fundraiser or fundraising consultant, a tech-savvy person to manage our website, a printing coordinator and more.

For more information, go online to BellinghamThresholdSingers.org.

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