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Hospice choirs provide song for the dying

Associated Press Associated Press 23/05/2016 Philip Marcelo

Hospice choirs are singing at the bedsides of the terminally ill in the hopes of bringing peace and comfort to the patients, their caregivers and their loved ones.

The volunteer a capella groups are part of a broader movement that's grown in recent years.

Kate Munger is the founder of California-based Threshold Choir, a group credited with helping launch the modern hospice choir movement.

She says singing to the dying has been done for centuries, mostly in the privacy of people's homes. But as end-of-life care moved to hospitals and nursing facilities, those traditions eroded.

Munger says hospice choirs are trying to fill that void.

Charlotte Russell is music director for the Threshold Singers at Indian Hill Music in Massachusetts, a group affiliated with Munger's organisation. She says it's also about giving families a respite.

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