HeartSong Singers of Southern Oregon (formerly Threshhold Singers) began in 2003 under the direction of Sarah Seybold (former hospice nurse) and I’lana Cotton (music teacher and composer) who brought an ideal combination of skills and experience to the beginnings of this choir formed as part of a national Threshold Choir movement begun by Kate Munger in California.
By training singers, fostering bedside teams, and adding our own songs to Kate’s amazing collection of songs, we have grown from a few interested singers to an enduring group of 25-30 women. Many of our singers have been with us since the beginning, and over half have been singing with us for at least 5 years. Some of us sing at bedside once a month, some of us sing 2-3 times a week, visiting patients in many Rogue Valley communities close to Ashland and Medford.
Photo by Mary Landberg
In our community we are becoming a viable component of palliative care for hospice and end-of-life programs in homes, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, retirement communities and adult foster care facilities, making roughly 700 bedside visits per year.
While many referrals come from care providers, hospice nurses, social workers, or chaplains, word of mouth has reached into our communities and we often get invited by family and friends to sing to loved ones.
It is easy to become involved as a singer! It is not necessary to read music, and our songs are generally short and simple. New singers will typically want to learn many of our songs before going to bedside, and the easiest way to do this is to come to our rehearsals which happen twice a month, generally on Sunday afternoons.
The HeartSong Singers of Southern Oregon provide opportunities for women to share the gifts of their voices in compassion and truth at life’s thresholds; a sacred, delightful way to build community and be part of a unique, co-created adventure.
I own two licensed Senior Care Homes in Ashland and have had the extreme pleasure of having the Threshold Singers in my homes. They are a gift for my residents, their family members, and our staff, too. The singers are gentle, personable women who greet all of the residents in the home by name and fill the care home with beautiful harmony. Many of the residents recognize the songs and will sing along, which the women always welcome. From the lilt of their voices in song, to their heartfelt hellos and goodbyes, the Threshold Singers are a blessing to our community. Be it soft songs at bedside for our Hospice clients, or in the living room for all who can come, the Threshold Singers’ visits leave everyone with a song in his or her heart and a feeling of peace. We are so very fortunate to have them.
Kathleen Petersen (Owner/Licensee)
Oxford Gardens Senior Care Home, LLC