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‘Kindness made audible’: Saskatoon Threshold Singers comfort those at end of life

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WATCH ABOVE: The Saskatoon Threshold Singers sing at the bedside of those on the threshold of living and dying. – Oct 29, 2017

The Saskatoon Threshold Singers are a small group, who sing at the bedside of people nearing the end of their lives.

They offer it as a simple gift, free of charge.

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The group is co-directed by Karla Combres and Kathryn Green.

“Our gift is very simple, it’s only singing. When we go to bedside, we’re not there to do anything but to offer our gift of song,” Combres said.

The Saskatoon group started a year ago and is made up of a dozen singers. The choir breaks into groups of two to four to sing at a bedside.

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The Threshold Singers have being asked to sing for people who are days or hours away from dying.

“We see sometimes with the loved ones who are present in the room, that I almost feel like we’re singing it for them. We’re singing what they would like to share with their loved one who is nearing the end of life,” Green said.

This year the group has been invited to sing at care homes including Samaritan Place and Saskatoon Convalescent Home.

“There’s a lot of feelings that people don’t know how to express. Music is universal. It’s across cultures, across spiritualities. It creates a space for people,” said Amy Bunce, the spiritual care director at Samaritan Place.

There are no instruments or sheet music on site and the group has no religious affiliation. The goal is simply to bring ease and comfort for those seriously ill or dying.

The Saskatoon group chooses from a library of 300 songs specific to the Threshold Choir repertoire.

“All of the songs have been written expressly for the purpose of singing to people on threshold of living and dying, and so they are very comforting,” Combres said.

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There are more than 150 Threshold Choir chapters worldwide.

“The sort of tag line for Threshold Choirs is ‘kindess made audible,’ and so that’s what we try to present,” said Combres.

The group is holding an information session for anyone who might be interested in singing with them Tuesday, Oct. 31 at 1:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Centre.

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