Healing Power of Music Brings Comfort to Hospital Patients
By John Alexander
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
On Tuesday, NYU Lutheran Medical Center welcomed Music That Heals, a non-profit organization celebrating 20 years of bringing the sounds of professional musicians to health care institutions throughout the tri-state area.
Music That Heals has a roster of more than 40 artists, and will be showcasing some of these talented performers in Lutheran’s main lobby every Tuesday throughout 2017, thanks to a grant from the May Ellen and Gerald Ritter Foundation.
Music That Heals, co-founded in 1997 by musicians Kathy Lord and Susan Weber, brings the healing power of music to sick children and adults. Last year the program scheduled more than 400 performances in various health care venues.
“First of all, the whole staff — including some of the top doctors at the hospital — was so welcoming and excited about having Music That Heals come to the Lutheran lobby every week,” Lord told the Brooklyn Eagle. “The grant we received from the May Ellen and Gerald Ritter Foundation will allow Music That Heals to be in the lobby every Tuesday for one year, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.”
Lord offered an example of how music can affect a patient. “I was sitting next to a man who was there for an appointment,” Lord said. “He was obviously a bit distressed, both physically and emotionally. He said to me, ‘This music is such a good idea. People here are stressed, including me, and this is so helpful in making me feel better.’ To hear something like that from a patient is such a great testament to the program.”
Dr. Alan D. Sickles, deputy executive director and vice president of operations at NYU Lutheran Medical Center was instrumental in helping to arrange for this musical program. He explained, “Music That Heals brings a great energy and warmth to our lobby. It’s wonderful to see that passed on to our staff, patients and visitors,”
The first performance on Tuesday presented Mark Sganga, an award-winning international finger-style guitarist and drummer/percussionist Jonathon Petetz. The duo performed a wide variety of acoustic instrumentals with a Latin flavor.
“The May Ellen and Gerald Ritter Foundation in conjunction with Music That Heals looks forward to supporting and providing weekly music programs at NYU Lutheran that will enable both visitors and hospital staff to enjoy a moment of peace and tranquility,” Vincent Rohan, president of the May Ellen and Gerald Ritter Foundation told the Eagle.
“The Music That Heals program is something that we feel is going to be very uplifting for our patients, their families and our employees who sometimes just need a break to get away from their clinical duties and the stress that occurs during their routine work in the hospital,” NYU Lutheran Volunteer Manager Lynna Scott Carnegie said. “The fact that these world-class musicians are willing to come and perform her means a great deal. We’re just happy that they are here and giving us support in so many ways.”
She also expressed her appreciation for the May Ellen and Gerald Ritter Foundation for helping to make it all possible.
“The staff is really excited. We haven’t had this kind of thing for a very long time, and I think our patients will be energized by this.”