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Music from Dana Students Soothes Hospital Patients

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Students from Youngstown State University are providing some healing music for patients at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

Four prerecorded video performances by students in the Dana School of Music are being broadcasted in rooms at the north side hospital. It’s part of the Just What the Doctor Ordered project, a partnership between Mercy Health Foundation and the Dana School.

“Music is very powerful in addressing the well-being of the whole person,” said Paul Homick, president of Mercy Health Foundation, in a statement. “It calms the mind and lifts the spirit, so the body can heal. That is especially important right now, when many of our patients can’t be with their families.”  

Randall Goldberg, director of the Dana School of Music, said sharing music is a way to give back to health professionals amid the pandemic.

“I look forward to the growth of this partnership and to a time when our students and faculty may perform at St. Elizabeth and deliver our thanks in person,” he said.

The brainchild of Dana faculty member Caroline Oltmanns, the concerts were intended to be a series of six live performances at St. Elizabeth Youngstown beginning in the fall 2020 semester.  

“The idea began as we searched for an additional performance venue for students and emerged into an opportunity for students to think outside of their own worlds, and to experience what other people have to go through in their lives, such as during an illness,” Oltmanns said. “The intention was for it to be an experience in performing, in sympathy and in altruism.”  

When the coronavirus pandemic emerged, the idea was put on hold. At the same time, Dana School was producing videos incorporating student and faculty content, including a new series of Honors Recitals hosted by the McDonough Museum of Art. With available video content, the conversation continued, and the new project was presented.  

Three of the four videos in the project are part of the McDonough Museum Honors Recital Series, while the fourth is a Dana School of Music brass ensemble. The videos previously premiered on the Cliffe College YouTube channel. 

The performers include the Dana Brass Quintet; Michael Barren, piano; Kayla Gilmore, flute; and the Andrew Karkosiak Jazz Trio.  

Homick noted that the Mahoning Valley Mercy Health Foundation hosts the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra’s Stained-Glass Concert Series at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, and the response to those concerts has been overwhelmingly positive and a real benefit to patients and their families.

“Working with the Dana School of Music to bring live performances to the hospital more frequently evolved from that experience and the desire to provide an even greater benefit to patients, families and Mercy Health associates,” he said. 

Pictured: The Dana Brass Quintet, shown in a recent performance in St. John’s Episcopal Church in Youngstown. A performance by the quintet is among several being broadcast to patient rooms at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

Copyright 2021, AfterHoursYoungstown, Youngstown, Ohio.

Posted Feb. 23, 2021.

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