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  • › Companion Voices: singing for the end of life

    15/Jun/2022

    There are several singing groups in the US, UK and beyond which specialise in bringing songs of comfort to the dying.

    You may have heard of the Threshold Choir network in the US. Here in the UK we have Companion Voices founded by Judith Silver in 2014. I asked Judith to write this guest post to tell us more about her work in this area.

    After more than eight years of Companion Voices, there’s so much to say. I thought I’d give a little bit of background and then share part of the welcome letter we’ve just created for new Companions. I think that will give a really good flavour of what we’re about.

    in the beginning …

    It was December 2013 and I was visiting two dear friends in Brighton. We were talking about our plans and intentions for the new year. I said I’d had an idea in mind for a long time, inspired by the Threshold Choirs in the US: to bring people together to sing at bedsides when someone was dying, to bring comfort and to help them not feel alone.

    Fast forward to February 2014 and we had our first gathering of about 12 people, personally invited and feeling drawn to explore this together. We learnt and sang songs I’d gathered from my years as a choir leader, mostly lullabies and easy harmony songs. And we talked about our experiences and feelings around the end of life.

    Both elements are vital to equip us to do this work: as well as knowing the songs we need to have strong bonds between us and know how to support each other. For about a year we didn’t have a name and then we brainstormed around what we were doing and came up with Companion Voices which we felt crystallised our essence: singing, being together, standing alongside each other and those we sing for. Read the full article, by Chris Rowbury, here