I was enthralled by the unusual lyrics and intriguing harmonies.
“We are healed by our songs before the vibrations ever leave our bodies. We are blessed first and then we send out the blessing,” says Kate Munger, Founder of Threshold Choirs.
I first encountered the Threshold Choir two years ago on a Sunday afternoon as I took part in the Peace Walk at the St. Francis Sculpture Garden at Dominican Center at Marywood. Soothing sounds of music floated through the woods. The melodies were unrecognizable, almost lullaby-like and incredibly beautiful. I couldn’t wait to begin the walk and to discover the source of this peaceful, compelling music.
A few minutes later I rounded a bend in the path and encountered the Grand Rapids Threshold Choir as they sang “I will be your standing stone, standing here with you.” I was enthralled by the unusual lyrics and intriguing harmonies.
Music has always been a “standing stone,” a real presence and calling throughout my adult life. For over 40 years I have been a volunteer liturgical instrumentalist and singer. Music, for me, is the best way to pray.
Music also became a vocation through my work at a volunteer coordinator for Spectrum Health Hospice. I discovered early on that music, with intention, brings comforting, healing, presence, especially when conversation is no longer possible at the end of life. So I started to recruit singers and instrumentalists and started a program for harpists. My goal was to make music support widely available for our patients. This volunteer support was in addition to the music therapists hired as part of the hospice team to provide specific, goal-oriented patient care.
I retired from my work in 2017 and now volunteer with Spectrum Hospice. I play harp at bedside, often with my husband Tom who sings and plays guitar. I also play duets on flute, with friend and fellow DCM friend, choir member and pianist, Dennis Gavigan at the Spectrum Lemmen Holten Cancer Pavilion. Offering the healing presence of music with patients has become my passion.
After that first encounter with the Threshold Choir, I joined the group and have found it to be so uplifting. We sing upon request for any family or individual who would like music at bedside, be it a birthing experience, illness or end-of-life care. Several of the Threshold members have become trained volunteers with Spectrum Hospice and we sing in trios at bedside for patients and families on a regular basis.
The choir offers A Gift of Song Community Sing each spring where the larger community is invited to experience this special form of music. We hope you can join us on Saturday, June 22, 2019 from 3:00-4:30 pm at East Congregational United Church of Christ, Klise Chapel 1005 Giddings Ave SE, Grand Rapids MI 49506
The Grand Rapids Threshold Choir is part of the national Threshold organization. The Grand Rapids choir is open to new members. Please contact the Threshold director if interested in learning more.
The St. Francis of Assisi Sculpture Garden for Prayer and Meditation is a project of Instruments of Hope. It is located on the grounds of the Marywood Campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
For the past ten years Marcia Good has participated in Sunday Assembly at Marywood in Dominican Chapel where she plays flute and harp and sings in the choir. She became a Dominican Associate in 2013 and has found that music has been her way to live out the Dominican pillars of study, prayer, preaching and serving community. Sharing music provides a way to “preach the Gospel at all times.”