Whakaahuru – The Gentle Singers are a small group of singers who have been working since 2014 on a specific repertoire of songs suitable for bedside singing, as well as particular vocal techniques and the skills to sing in small groups.
When we sing in communal spaces at rest homes, we sing in groups of eight to ten. For closer “bedside singing” situations, we might send a team as small as three to four singers.
Our choir is made up of around 20 singers, led by musical director Carol Shortis. We come from many walks of life and have men and women in our group. Some of us have a background in palliative care nursing, and others have many years of experience singing in choirs and smaller groups. We are an Incorporated Society and a Registered Charity.
Our singers are invited to sing in many different situations, from social visits to the last hours of life when the sing is a way of keeping vigil, anointing and softening the energy in the room. It is then a form of prayer. We’re trained to be sensitive to the needs of those present, and respond accordingly. We support out singers to develop resilience, as each sing will be a different experience and emotions can vary.
" Thank you for providing this 'noise of grace'...
I enjoy the calm cleansing feeling I get when listening"
- residential home staff.