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April 9, 2009

Singers Bring Harmony to Bedsides of Sick, Dying

Voice of America

Kate Munger first discovered the power of music nearly 20 years ago when she saw the profound difference it made for people in the end stages of life, even for those who were comatose. It was 1990, and she was visiting a friend who was comatose and dying of HIV/AIDS.

"I sat down by his bed and wondered what to do next," she recalls. "And instinctively I began to sing. And he had been restless, and as I sang, he calmed and so did I. At the end of that experience, I felt I that I had done something that was a special gift that only I could give at this moment to that person. And it was very penetrating as an experience for me."

After years of leading informal singing groups, Munger started her first Threshold Choir with 15 women in the San Francisco Bay Area. The idea of singing to ease the pain of passing away caught on, and Munger was soon busy adding new choirs around the Bay area, leading rehearsals and scheduling bedside visits.

At that point, Munger says, the Threshold Choir had turned into a full-time job.

"Every single minute of my waking time is devoted to this work," she says, pointing out that she has a degree in psychology; had been a music teacher for 10 years, and had a private practice in deep-tissue massage. "Everything I've done has led me to do this. There is a satisfaction that I've never felt the likes of before, of knowing that you're doing what you're supposed to be doing with your life. I had no idea that this would be as big as it is. So it's exceeded by far my original intention." Read more.

The Threshold Choir is a wonderful organization and anybody looking for a truly rewarding singing experience should consider participating

Posted by acapnews at April 9, 2009 12:00 AM

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