Members of the Threshold Choir at Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices are quick to point out that the singing they do isn’t performing.
Instead the group, which sings to hospice patients at the Lebanon, OH, continuing care retirement community, focuses on calming and simply being present with the people they sing to.
The choir sings a cappella from the international Threshold Choir organization’s repertoire, harmonizing and repeating the short songs a few times during each 15-minute session. The members sit on camp stools while singing, and just one “anchor” singer speaks during the session so as to not overwhelm the patient.
Founding member Sara Davis says the choir, currently in its first year of serving Otterbein, doesn’t require members — who come from both inside and outside the CCRC — to have stellar or stand-out voices.
“We’re looking for people who have a desire to sing for others, and understand how to be a calm presence for people who are disabled or dying,” Davis said.
Sally Patt, a choir member who lives in Otterbein’s independent living neighborhood, said her experiences helping calm patients through song have been inspirational.
“It’s just very rewarding, when you know you’ve helped someone find peace,” Patt says.