Kathy Leo is the author of On the Breath of Song: The Practice of Bedside Singing for the Dying and founder and coordinator of Hallowell, a hospice choir in Brattleboro, Vermont, that for more than 10 years has been visiting people near the end of their lives and offering workshops for singers called to this work. Kathy will be joined at Rowe by Hallowell’s co-directors of music: Mary Cay Brass, who leads choruses of 90 people in Brattleboro and Greenfield, and Peter Amidon, a versatile and widely respected performer, teacher, and choral arranger.
Kathy Leo, with Mary Cay Brass & Peter Amidon
Hospice choirs are springing up all over the country, many of them modeled on the Hallowell Choir. Learn to help ease the final transition, anointing the dying person with voices in harmony.
Singing for the dying speaks directly to the soul in its own language, giving comfort, opening the heart, quieting fear, and offering grief a place to rest. Bedside singing allows access to a sacred place where the veil between the worlds becomes very thin. It changes our relationship with death and life. It brings families together. It creates community. It reminds us to live with gratitude, intention, and compassion.
Under the guidance of experienced Hallowell singers, you’ll join in singing sacred and secular music, from lively shape-note songs to quiet, meditative chants, from old traditional hymns to contemporary gospel. Whether you’re new to this growing practice or a well-seasoned bedside singer, come share the songs and stories as you learn what to expect and how to respond in the intense, intimate, and sacred passage from living to dying.