On Saturday night, October 27th, the Red Room at Arcosanti was filled with the sounds of over a dozen women’s voices singing songs with titles like “The Storm is Passing Over.”  The women were all members of the Flagstaff chapter of the Threshold Choir, whose mission is to sing at the bedsides of people who are struggling, many close to dying. The evening started with the building of a fire in the Red Room, and the women sitting in a circle.  Then one woman started singing spontaneously, and the others soon joined her, in a style of rounds or call and response.

[the choir in the Arcosanti Vaults; photo by alumna and archive volunteer Ester Meyer & text by workshop participant in the Soleri archives David Chan]

A white chair was set in the center of the circle for anyone who wanted to receive the blessing of the music, and several of the women at times sat silently in the chair to hear their fellow choir members sing to them. 

[the choir in the Arcosanti Vaults; photo by Ester Meyer & text by David Chan]

At one point, the lights were turned off and the room was lit only by the fireplace and the light of candles from an altar set in the room; besides candles, the altar also contained mementos from people who had died, and throughout the night the women added to the altar the names and stories of loved ones, pets, and acquaintances who have passed on.

[the choir in the Arcosanti Vaults; photo by Ester Meyer & text by David Chan]

The Threshold choir visited Arcosanti from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon for rehearsal, and over the course of the three days they sang in the Vault, the Red Room, the Crafts III Tower, and the Music Room, practicing for their mission of bringing “comfort to those at the thresholds of living and dying.”

[the choir in the Arcosanti Vaults; photo by Ester Meyer & text by David Chan]

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