Tammy Renner directs the Threshold Choir of Ann Arbor.
Tammy Renner founded the Threshold Choir of Ann Arbor.

Kate Munger, founder of the Threshold Choirs.
Kate Munger started the first threshold choir in California in the year 2000 and has helped establish more than 125 choirs nationwide, including the one in Ann Arbor.

Threshold choir members practice by singing to each other.
Ann Arbor singers Robin, Karen, and Lindsay sing to Tammy during a rehearsal.


links


about the choir

We are an a cappella choir of women's voices: a community whose mission is to sing for and with those at the thresholds of life, offering ease and comfort. We recognize the privilege of being invited into our clients' lives at a significant threshold.


reflections on our origins~
from founder Tammy Renner

In 2005, I experienced the profound power of music to bring peace to those on the threshold of death. My mother was in home hospice, dying of cancer. In her last days, I stayed with her, singing and playing the recorder, harp, and piano. The music calmed her and helped my family express feelings for which we had no words. In those precious days, I felt more grateful for the gift of music than ever before. In my professional life, it has been my joy to teach piano, recorder, and singing to students of all ages. After mom's death, I wanted to bring the potent gift of her experience into my teaching.

The way opened when I met Kate Munger and learned about threshold singing. Kate founded the first Threshold Choir in 2000 after her own powerful experience singing to a dying friend. Now, there are more than 125 choirs, with more forming every year. In 2007, I invited some singing friends to join me in starting the Threshold Choir of Ann Arbor. Several months later, two of us sang for a friend who was dying of cancer ~ our first choir experience in the sacred space that surrounds death.

When we entered the room, our friend was under bright fluorescent lights, her parents anxiously attending a noisy telephone. We asked permission to turn down the lights and unplug the phone, sat next to her, and began to sing. Soon, our friend, her family, and other visiting friends were completely transformed by our soothing songs. As we left, her parents and friends joined us in singing goodbye to her.


who are our singers?

All kinds of women are drawn to bedside singing, for all kinds of reasons. Some of us come after experiencing "the shiver" when learning about choir. Some of us come after caring for a family member or because we are already hospice volunteers. We come from many different traditions. Some of us practice traditional religions, and some have a personal form of spirituality that has no label.

Some of us come to the choir as accomplished musicians; many do not. We learn to carry our parts and blend our voices, some by reading music and others learning by ear.

At rehearsals, we practice singing and learning new songs. Our primary objective is to prepare for singing in small groups at bedside. We focus on simple quiet songs, blending our voices and singing in harmony. Please visit our member page if you think you might like to join us.


about the leadership team

A dedicated group of members shares leadership of the choir. Susie and Susan share rehearsal leadership; Carol coordinates requests to sing at the bedside; Pat welcomes new members; Kay is our music librarian; Susan is our treasurer; Lindsay maintains the website; Karen is leading visitor and new member orientations; Tammy is leading Gift of Song events. We truly love working with each other and those with whom we share our voices.