Pastoral Singing

“It’s not so much about the song itself, it’s about the way it’s delivered and the people who deliver it. So, you know, they can sing How Much is That Doggie in the Window, and I can love that as much as I like the deeply spiritual songs that they sing.” 

A Nursing Home Patient

If you know someone who is going through a trying time or is ill and could benefit from a little laughter and enjoy soothing singing, please ask.

By-Your-Side-Singers (BYSS) offer support and comfort through song. Groups of three or four singers visit homes, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living and other settings as requested. We may be invited by a minister, friend or parishioner to visit another parishioner. Our singing evokes smiles, tears and laughter. Many of those we visit, enjoy singing or humming along with us.

Most people we sing for visibly relax and smile. If they appear asleep, they may wake up. A few have started conducting us. Family and others who are present often join us singing and also are uplifted.

One of our earliest visits was to an elderly couple in their home. The husband showed very little affect. It was Christmas time and we started, quietly, with “O Come, O Come Emanuel.” When we got to the refrain, “Rejoice, Rejoice” he burst out loudly on the bass, singing Rejoice, Rejoice … I looked at his wife and she was crying. He sang with us throughout the visit. We were deeply touched.

Most people we sing for visibly relax and smile. If they appear asleep, they may wake up. A few have started conducting us. Family and others who are present often join us singing and also are uplifted.

BYSS is a group of men and women who enjoy singing to provide comfort to those who are in transition. Choral experience is not required. Rehearsals are the first and third Wednesdays. In these meetings, we rehearse familiar songs from our hymnals and other sources. Some of the song we sing are: Come sing a song with me, Spirit of Life, Find a stillness, Dona Nobis Pacem, Amazing Grace.

BYSS is modeled after nearby First Parish Concord’s BYSS, started 12 years ago by FPC Music Director Beth Norton. Sue Cornwall has sung with them from its inception. With Mandy Beal, Sue started BYSS in 2016.

If you would like to join BYSS please contact Sue Cornwall: SueCornwall@me.com, 781-389-1807. If you know someone who could benefit from a little laughter and singing, please contact Sue Cornwall, or the Caring Committee at fplcares@fplincoln.org

“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.” 
― HENRY DAVID THOREAU