So many songs, so little time! Here are a number of singing activities that I’ve been taking part in.
Ongoing: Threshold Choir of New York City. We are growing, now singing at the bedsides of patients at three hospitals in Manhattan, including an ICU unit. See my previous blog about the choir.
In April, I traveled to Healdsburg CA to take part in the Annual Threshold Choir Gathering. It’s a chance for the choirs across the country and abroad (over 100) to share techniques, methods, songs and spiritual practice with each other. I presented a workshop called “Shared Musical Leadership” to show how to give singers the confidence to be songleaders. The conference is held in a beautiful spot, nestled among the hills and vineyards of the Russian River valley.
In June, I spent a weekend at Rowe Conference Center in Rowe, MA, learning about the Hollowell Singers of Brattleboro, VT. Like the Threshold Choir, they also sing at bedsides, but more often for hospice patients in people’s homes. Kathy Leo is their able leader, and she had a talented support team with her. Peter Amidon does much of the 4-part arranging for the choir and he and Mary Alice Amidon are strong song leaders. Mary Kay Brass collects songs from many lands and directs the choir. Kathy Leo has a deep connection to this work and she does a great job of sharing her wisdom. It was like going to the national Threshold Choir conference in that there were many soul sisters (and brothers) there, we spoke the same language of the heart though the songs were different.
I’m looking forward to a week of singing at “Turtle Dove” held in a private home (a beautiful sprawling Victorian) in Ashfield, MA. Kathy Bullock will be teaching Gospel songs and African arrangements. Ali Burns is coming from Scotland to teach some songs from her country, as well as her own songs. Brendan Taaffe is coordinating the week and will share some of his compositions.
When I return, I’ll be glad to share my experience!