On the breath of song book cover

on the breath of song

The new book that offers guidance through stories for the practice of bedside singing for the dying.

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On the Breath of Song

Written by Kathy Leo, the founder and director of Hallowell, a hospice choir based in Brattleboro, Vermont since 2003.

  • A book to help people

    This book serves hospice singers, music therapists, chaplains, compassionate care givers, hospice workers, palliative care professionals, anyone offering end of life care or helping a loved one die.

  • Get close to death and dying

    The book provides a way to get close to the bedside to explore your personal relationship with death and dying.

  • Through stories and songs

    The stories are true and filled with tenderness and emotion. At the heart of these stories are the songs we sing, and the spirit of love we bring to this practice.

On the breath of song book cover

What others are saying about this book:

Immerse the Dying in Song

"Babies are born into the welcoming arms of community, swaddled by loving families. So too, people can be enveloped in love as they leave this life. On the Breath of Song allows us to bear witness as Hallowell voices tenderly immerse a dying person and family in song."

Ira Byock, MD, Founder & Chief Medical Officer, Providence Institute for Human Caring. Author of Dying Well, The Four Things That Matter Most, and The Best Care Possible.

Offer comfort through song

"Too many of us spend our final days in isolation and despair. Kathy Leo shows us how it can be otherwise. She regularly attends the mystery of death with a calm open heart—and a group of dedicated singers. For those who wish to offer comfort to the dying through song, On the Breath of Song provides a clear guide, rich with stories, overflowing with wisdom and compassion. "

Camilla Rockwell, Director, Holding Our Own: Embracing the End of Life

A Guide to Moving the Heart

"This beautifully written book captures--with compassion and deep wisdom--the gift of song, giving comfort, peace, and love to one's final journey unto death. The stories move the heart; the guidelines show a way."

Bernice Mennis, Teacher of writing. Author of Breaking Out of Prison: a guide to consciousness, compassion, and freedom, and Holding it All.

You're in for a surprise

"When you take this book into your hands, you may reasonably expect to learn how to form (or join) a choir that sings to the dying and their loved ones.

You are in for a surprise. Just as the experience of hospice singing turns out to be about much more than offering soothing bedside song, Kathy Leo's clear guidance for a hospice choir turns out to be the very least of what this delicious book delivers.

On the Breath of Song embodies what it means to be really alive, wherever a person may currently be along the spectrum from birth to dying. It's about what it is to be truly present with this moment, whatever it may hold.

Kathy's stories of singing to the dying remind us of our rich and complicated humanity, how every human life brims with love and loss. Her words put us in touch with our imperfection and with the ever-present possibility of opening beyond what we supposed could be. She helps readers to step through the door into the room where our own deaths (and those of our loved ones) will one day occur, and to be able to rest in that realization. Revelations abound.

Kathy Leo is endowed with an uncommonly tender heart and a well of wisdom filled by years of experience. On top of that, she can write."

Jan Frazier, Spiritual and writing teacher. Author of When Fear Falls Away, The Freedom of Being, Opening the Door and The Great Sweetening

Get your copy today

By paypal or by check. $15 plus $4 shipping and handling.
Add $2 shipping / handling for each additional copy.

International Orders

Flat rate shipping for all international orders placed here via Paypal
is $20 for the first copy, add $2.50 for each additional copy.

You may get a better shipping deal by ordering the book from CreateSpace where shipping will be calculated for your country.

We are handling online orders via PayPal.
You can use a credit card there, if you don't have a PayPal account.

Knowing that some folks don't like online ordering, we offer you the option to send a check to Kathy Leo. Don't forget to include shipping and handling!

Kathy Leo
316 Thayer Rd
Westminster VT 05158

Want to buy multiple copies for your group or choir? Email Kathy about bulk order shipping options.