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UCC Nat'l Musician's Conference - Hospice Singing Workshop

Peter & Mary Alice Amidon's  -  UCC Musicians Association Conference Workshop
Hospice Singing
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - Boston, MA

Many thanks to Trey Pratt who helped make this happen, and to Trey and the wonderful JourneySongs singers who helped out in both of the workshops.

* First some info that might be of interest, then the post-workshop notes.  The notes include links to recordings of most of the songs that we sang in the workshops.

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Come to a choral singing weekend on beautiful Star Island (off the coast of New Hampshire) with
Mary Cay Brass and Peter and Mary Alice Amidon, September 15 - 17:
Star Harmony

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Sign up on our email mailing list for approximately once-monthly notices about upcoming Amidon workshops and publications.  Just go to the Amidon website and sign up on the homepage:


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I led two Hospice Singing workshops; these notes cover both workshops.

I am a co-Music Director, along with Mary Cay Brass, of Hallowell, a Southeastern Vermont based hospice choir. Mary Alice is a Hallowell founder and Kathy Leo is our overall Director.  Her book On the Breath of Song is about hospice singing specifically, but it is also a wonderful meditation on death as an amazing part of life.

Click on the titles for links to recordings of the songs.

All Through the Night
We find this to be a familiar and comforting song to many.

Angels Hovering Round
We often sing this as our final song at our hospice sings. It was collected from an old hymnal by our late friend Lucy Simpson.

Blessed Quietness
We learned this wonderful hymn from Lucy Simpson. I often choose this for a vigil sing.

Crossing the Bar
Rani Arbo's perfect setting of this beautiful Tennyson poem.  I arranged this at the request of Hallowell director Kathy Leo.

Love Call Me Home
By Peggy Seeger. We sing this song as much for the families as for the one in hospice care.

 I Will Guide Thee
Another favorite of ours for hospice sings.

Let the Life I've Lived
A perfect arrangement by our friend Andy Davis, this can be a powerful song to sing at a vigil sing and a great funeral song.

Thuma Mina
From South Africa.  For someone close to death we might sing this only in Zulu so it can just wash over them and not pull them into the present.

How Could Anyone
Libby Roderick's classic.  There are so many perfect moments to sing this song.  In a hospice sing or nursing home we change "were" to "are".

I Still Have Joy
Listen to Dorothy Norwood's gospel version of this:

I Bid You Goodnight
This spiritual from the Bahamas is a powerful funeral song.  We sometimes sing just the chorus, slowly and quietly, at a vigil sing, as we do here in the very ending of this performance by the Starry Mountain Singers (our son Stefan is the bass, and his wife Zara Bode is the red head):
Some of you know that the Grateful Dead often closed their concerts with this:

 For in depth discussion of all aspects of organizing a hospice choir and about hospice singing I highly recommend Kathy Leo's book On the Breath of Song

Many of the songs we use in our hospice singing are scattered through Mary Alice's and my two collections of our choral arrangements:

Fifty-five Anthems for the Small Church Choir


Twenty-five Anthems for Interfaith & Community Choirs

and check out the "Hospice Singing" category in our

Online Choral Store


Peter (& Mary Alice) Amidon
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