Thursday, December 16, 2010
Healthcare Workers: Choirs Sing Holiday Music (Research, Video 3:56)
Happy Holidays From Frances Shani Parker
Years ago when I was a teacher, several co-workers decided to organize a staff choir. The announcement circulated quickly, and, to my great joy, anybody, even average shower singers like I was, could join. We met after school each week and slowly became acquainted with more layers of ourselves than my grandma’s lasagna. It was magical how music could so easily remove everyday distractions of the world.
Because music is so universal, I thought about this when I read research about healthcare workers of the Staff Christmas Choir of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre ("Peter Mac") in Australia. Peter Mac is a world leader in cancer treatment, research, and education. I wondered if their choir had teased one another like we had, joked about the challenges of harmonizing, and if they generally had a great time just singing. Most of all, I wondered if they were swept into the magnificence of inspiring and healing themselves and others through song.
Research indicates they definitely accomplished the latter. Seven performances were given at Centre locations which included inpatient wards, outpatient waiting areas, and a cafeteria. In order to evaluate performances, oncology inpatients, outpatients, and visitors were given anonymous, semi-structured questionnaires during and after performances. Of the 111 responses, including some from people with Jewish, Hindu, and atheist backgrounds, 93.7 % were favorable. Several people described “transformative thoughts and physical reactions, felt affirmed by the Christmas spirit or message, and/or appreciated the peaceful or enlivened and social atmosphere.” The importance of "enjoying the moment" was also a recognized benefit.
Healthcare workers in America also know the uplifting rewards of music for singers and listening audiences. The Sound of Mercy Choir, a group of co-workers in various departments at St. John’s Mercy HealthCare in St. Louis, Missouri, performs a “Spirit of the Season” concert in this video. Performing at various events, the group was formed as a Healing Environment Initiative. Enjoy the moment with holiday songs:
Frances Shani Parker, Author