The inspiration for Eventide was a visit by John Bos of Shelburne, Massachusetts to the home of a friend who was dying from cancer. The previous year he had met and befriended a woman named Carolyn Jones at a singing workshop. She had told him of a group that she had founded in Montpelier, Vermont that sang to the sick and dying. He found himself wishing that his friend could know the same comfort.
One weekend in March 2007 he joined the singers who called themselves Carolyn’s Choir at a potluck dinner at Carolyn’s house. He was moved by the warmth of the community that she had gathered around song. Driving back home the next day, Bos “knew” that something like Carolyn’s Choir was needed in Franklin County, where he lived. He sought advice on how to start a hospice choir from Kathy Leo, founder and administrator of the Hallowell Singers in Brattleboro, Vermont (there are 15 such groups throughout Vermont) who encouraged him to continue to organize.
Soon after, Bos asked former hospice nurse and retired clergy person Mary Schreiber to work with him to help start Eventide Singers. From the beginning, Eventide cultivated relationships with hospice organizations. Bos and Schreiber attended workshops for hospice to learn how to be present at bedsides. They sponsored meetings to attract interested singers and soon the core group of 21 Eventide Singers was formed.
October 28, 2007 marked the first rehearsal date and the beginning of Eventide.
The Eventide Singers made their first public appearance as part of a combined choir with other groups singing for a memorial service for Jackie Walker, a co-founder of the Cancer Connection in Northampton. At the memorial service Bos met Joe Toritto who agreed to lead the choir “for a few months” until such time as a permanent music director could be found. Joe has been leading the choir ever since.