.. Providing patients with the opportunity for harp therapy is part of Marymount Hospital's intention to address the spiritual and emotional needs of people who are suffering. What we're about is serving patients in a holistic way. It's not just that we're going to treat the tumor or broken bone or disease. We're going to treat the person. There's not one person on earth who does not respond to music. St. Francis was a music lover. This reflects his spirit." - David Kribel, Former Vice President of Operations and Programs of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Behavioral Health / Director of Trudell Center for Behavioral Health, Marymount Hospital.
"This letter will serve to endorse a new therapy tool referred to as "harp therapy" that enhances the life and attitude of patients experiencing well care as well as sick care. This soothing musical therapy has become a much talked about and a very special part of the medical system in our community. Being CEO of the largest employer in our county, I understand the importance of health care services for our employees, their families and family members of the community. We have been fortunate to have trained harp therapy practitioners available to enhance the care and healing of those in need. Certainly this service makes a valuable contribution to the health care experience in the community and deserves your support. Should you require other information in support of this request, feel free to contact me."
Cary Blair, Retired Chairman and CEO, Westfield Group.
"During my long serving term as a hospice medical director, I have found nothing that is more spiritually, physically, and emotionally satisfying to the dying patient and family as harp therapy. I have had the privilege to work together with our hospice harp therapists, and can truthfully say that I wish I could offer my dying patients even a fraction of the comfort that they receive with harp therapy."
Dr. Dan Cevasco, M.D. Former Medical Director, Hospice of Medina County and of Summa Akron City Hospital
"I especially appreciated the harpist that came out for giving comfort. I think she helped more toward the end than anything or medicine to help Mother!"
Daughter of a hospice patient
"I just wanted to express my thanks on behalf of my family for your beautiful music at my Mom's memorial service. It was truly lovely and most appreciated. You are both so kind and talented. I know my mom heard you play. Thanks so much for all your efforts."
"The harp therapy in particular became very important in Mom's total care. Though music was in our home, records and radio, no one in our family played an instrument or could carry a tune. Music became very much a part of Mom's life. She'd sing, hum and la-la for hours. She enjoyed it so much, her joy became a comfort to us. Toward the last few months of her life, lyrics gave way to more la-las and humming and tunes became unrecognizable at times. She was even humming up to a few days before she died. The harpist sent by Hospice was a delight in her day. She truly enjoyed the music. I hear she even tried to sing along. I had no idea music would add so much to her life. My mother left this world on a beautiful sunny morning, holding my hand and listening to the harp music on tape. I cannot imagine a more peaceful way to go to heaven. The comfort given to body, mind, and soul was wonderful and very much appreciated. I hope others are able to enjoy the harp therapy as much as we did. It may possibly be your strongest medicine."
Hospice patient's daughter
"That was something to see, how the harp music helped to regulate the patient’s breathing. I wish we could get you to play here more often."
- Nurse in the Oncology Unit, Medina Hospital
"We know God is with us when He sends people like you."
- Spouse of a Medina Hospital patient
"When I was in ICU a year ago you came and played for me. I can’t begin to tell you what your visit meant to me. It was the best hospital stay I’ve ever had. Thank you so much."
- A patient at Medina Hospital
"I knew Medina Hospital was a good hospital, but this (harp therapy and the gift of presence) makes it better than the best."
- Wife of a patient
In January of 2007, Medina General Hospital experienced a yellow and red disaster code. The hospital was closed unexpectedly when a gas line outside was accidentally hit by a construction crew. The chaplain called and asked me to come and play for the staff and patients to bring peace in the midst of chaos. While I was playing in a public area, the CEO of the hospital tapped me on the shoulder and said, "God bless you!"
- One of the certified therapeutic harp practitioners
".....Your contributions of education and soothing sound were very much appreciated by everyone present (Spiritual Care Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and Interfaith Chapel Dedication). The emotions attached to these memories will continue to last long after the strings' vibrations have become still. Whenever either of you have given the gift of music, it is hard to put into words how those who take in the sounds are moved so deeply down in their soul, especially during times of distress. I cannot begin to measure the worth of what you do here. It is magical and mysterious and I am in awe along with everyone else. The stories keep coming in of how your ever so brief visits have turned out to be just what 'The Great Physician' ordered. May God's hands remain on you both as He ministers through you." Gratefully in Him,
The Late Chaplain Jim Hostetler, Medina Hospital
"Thank you for your prayers and support and incredible music! Mom, Dad, and I really treasured your gift." - Sue Chmelik, Founder of The Harp Therapy Fund at Medina Hospital
My name is Sister Marianne Saucier, and I work at Marymount Hospital Behavioral Health Center in the position of a board-certified music therapist and registered recreational therapist. I work on two in-patient floors, which have patients that are experiencing acute psychiatric symptoms and with varied diagnoses of mental illness and chemical dependency. The age ranges I work with are teenagers, adults and the elderly population, some of which are also experiencing physical illnesses that compound their emotional distress. Sarah and Melanie, our harp therapists, began coming on our units a few years ago, once a week for half hour sessions. It is hard for me even to begin to explain the power of their presence and their harp therapy. Both women are incredible musicians, not lacking in technique or performance skills. But what is first noticed is their deep spirituality seeping through every note that is played, their respect for themselves, their music, and our patients is very apparent. When I mention to the nurses that today the "harps" are coming, there is an audible sigh of relief. The staff knows that when the music begins, the entire atmosphere of the units begin to change. The units become quieter, softer, and magical. I have seen both women bring such gentleness and compassion to our patients. I have seen the patients become more relaxed, calmer, and more peaceful and kind to each other. I don't believe that ever when the harp therapists are on the units, has any violence broken out. Coincidence? I don't think so. These women exude peace, and their music surrounds the listeners, and fills souls with the presence of God. After the music is played, our patients love to be able to "try out" the harps on a "hands on" experience. It is a wonderful way for the session to finish, and provides a good connection to the harp therapists and their music, and helps the patients feel good about themselves. When the harp therapists leave the units, the calm continues, and patients refer to the entire experience as angelic, and comment frequently that they feel they have been touched by heaven. Symptoms decrease, calm prevails, and both patients and staff are better for having been with the harp therapists and their music. May God bless Sarah and Melanie for lifting the veil between heaven and earth... and giving us a glimpse of God's majesty and grace.
Gratefully, Sister Marianne Saucier
We have been truly blessed with the gift of Sarah and Melanie as they come to our hospital and provide harp therapy for our patients. Those who have been patients before look forward to their time with Melanie and Sarah because they know how much the harp therapy provides for them in term of relaxation and feeling surrounded by God's love and care.
Sr. Betty Gulick, Former Director of Mission Support, Marymount Hospital
Harp therapy has offered support to patients and has opened many doors to their many emotions. I've seen patients being calmed by the music in their anxious moments. I've seen the harp music allow or in a way give gentle permission for them to cry. I've seen patients smile and open up to the therapists about their own musical talents. I have had the privilege of having been with patients when they are transitioning into death and have our harpists play at bedside. The harp music brought peace to the patient and their family. I have seen how harp music has brought a busy nursing staff a few moments of quiet or feeling of peace as they play. And many staff have commented on how they look forward to the music and wish they could play longer on their unit. The harp music is a door opener to patients for pastoral care, and when I visit a patient they comment on how the harp music was appreciated. What live therapeutic harp music has done has been a blessing to all of us.
Chaplain Sr. JoAnn Poplar, Marymount Hospital
"I am taking this moment to thank you with heartfelt gratitude for the love and support you gave to me this past summer. The live harp music was a blessing, not only to me, but to others who heard it at the hospital. The tape you gave me, helped through many a night and I know the nurses enjoyed it as well as I! I want you to know how much I appreciate that you took the time to do that and thank you!" Love,
Robin Mannila, hospital patient
"Oh! Oh my, oh such beauty! I can’t believe this…" As this patient listened with others in a small group setting, he then said softly, "This music should be piped around so everyone can hear it. Such beauty… such beauty!" As we continued playing Broadway melodies, tears came into his eyes. This man had a deeply healing and soul stirring experience with the harp. It was something for me to witness his gentle outpouring. We extended the harps to the people at the end so they could play. A gentleman sitting in a wheel chair thanked me for taking the time to answer his questions and listen to him. He said, "Many times when I ask questions people tell me they are too busy. Thank you for listening and sharing your harp with me."
- Two patients at the Trudell Center (Behavioral Health), Marymount Hospital, 2011
"Thank you so much for providing a sacred space through the strings of the harp for our Candle Light ceremony November 19th. Thank you also for helping the children learn another way to express their grief feelings at our Kids/Teen Connection Group. Your ministry of support to the dying and the bereaved is appreciated."
The Rev. Beth McGuire, Foremr Director Robertson Bereavement Center
"You have touched so many lives in such a special way this year for Hospice. All those who hear your music are moved in some way. Thank you again for your presentation about harp therapy for the staff. It was well organized and very informative. And as always, your playing was beautiful". Love,
The Late Jean Rhodes, Former Director of Volunteers, Hospice of Medina County
"How can I express my feelings to you? It meant so much to me to have you come to the nursing home to play for my Tommy. He loved good music. I am sure he enjoyed it. The beautiful tones coming from your harps were so comforting to me and our family and friends. So many people there expressed their feelings. God bless you both."
A Hospice patient's wife
"I'd do anything to get you to play here. The harp music is beautiful, and it helps to soothe the entire staff..."
- A nurse on 2-South Medina Hospital Nurses’ Station
I was just leaving the spiritual care office to begin my hospital visits, when a young woman approached me upon seeing the harp. She said to me, "I was here a year ago for ten days after the birth of my baby. I heard the harp played outside my door. That is what I remember most about my stay. It was beautiful!" - One of the certified therapeutic harp practitioners
"I am supportive of harp therapy and its benefits at Medina Hospital. I wish it was available as an on-call service. I had a patient who was dying a few weeks ago and feel the harp music would ha e been very helpful to both the patient and family, to soothe, comfort and help the patient to "let go".
Sarah Naso, Nurse on 3rd floor night shift.
"The Love of God and music are the two greatest healing resources outside of traditional forms of medicine, psychotherapy, etc. that are available to all persons. The harp therapy ministry of Sarah Schwartz and Melanie Brown have brought the healing music and vibrations of this stringed instrument to many of the people in our congregation and the community. I consider them "Angels", i.e., ministering spirits whose music reflects the Spirit of God. They have shared this gift of music in various worship settings, e.g., Sunday worship, Christmas and Easter services; Memorial & Healing services. They have also played for persons on a one-on-one basis in the hospital and/or their homes. The people of our congregation and I appreciate their contribution to the well-being of our people."
The Rev. William Lucht, Former Pastor, St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church, Medina, Ohio
"On behalf of Marianne Saunders and her committee, I would like to extend our appreciation to you for providing the wonderful harp music during our annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Many staff members commented on how wonderful and soothing the music was, and how it set the tone for the activities of the day. It was a pleasure to have you both with us for this event and I look forward to having you play for us in the future." Faithfully yours,
The Rev. Daniel H. Grossoehme, BCC, Director of Chaplaincy Services, Children's Hospital, Akron, Ohio
I was eating lunch at a local restaurant with my therapy harp in its case in the booth alongside me when a lady stopped and gently said, "Excuse me, do you play the harp at Medina Hospital? I think you played for my husband and me while he was being treated for pneumonia. I didn’t properly thank you, and I wanted to let you know how meaningful and beautiful your visit was. My husband and I talked about it often. He died. He had pneumonia 5 times since WW II and was always able to fight it, but not this time. His death was unexpected. I cannot explain what that memory of you playing the harp for us means to me. Thank you. Please keep on giving your gift."
The spouse of a patient at Medina Hospital
"When patients come from the hospital to our nursing home, they as well as their families are very stressed out. Many are very depressed. The harp music is so soothing, very relaxing. It is just what my patients and their families need. Thank you very much for the majestic sound that you bring to us".
- Jack Isaac, Respiratory Therapist
"Thank you for coming to play for the Childbirth Prep, labor rehearsal class for first time parents. I lent your CDs to a couple who described your playing as "sublime" - an apt description I think. Their son Anthony was born September 8
th to your music. Thanks again." - Jeanne Freeman, RN, LCLE, Akron General Medical Center
"I find it difficult to express the experience of your playing for our Tai Chi class. The music you created moved me to the center of my soul. I found myself able to merge with the music and our movements. The two blended together as if one. I was surprised that the most moving parts played had just been created on the spot. Your extemporaneous response to us, was breath taking and uplifting. I wish it was recorded so I could hear it again. Thank you for coming and enriching our lives. Please come again. We all benefited from it". - Richard Leirer, Former Director, Qigong Academy
"I want to thank you for making our son's wedding to Lana this past weekend so very special. Your music is wonderful. I could listen to you all day! What a special talent you have. There is something about you and your music that just radiates peace and love. Thank you for sharing that special feeling with us." Sincerely, Doug and Jean Evans
"When Sarah brought her harp to one of my Tai Chi classes, she gave all of us the opportunity to enjoy her musical side. But it was also a different experience for everyone there as far as Tai Chi. We had never done our form to live music, only a CD or tape, and we were able to "feel" our form for the first time in relation to the sounds emanating from the harp. Sarah also allowed us to take turns sitting in a wooden chair against which she had leaned the harp. As she plucked the strings each of us could feel, deep inside the body, the vibration of the notes she played. We could feel the difference between a low-toned note and a higher-toned note. We found we all had personal favorites. It was a wonderful experience for my class, and we all look forward to a return visit."
- Mary Cuchna, Tai Chi Instructor
"Like an angel she appeared and played." I do hope you realize what your presence and your lovely music means to my darling. When he smiles amid his misery it is such a joy to see. Allowing your talent to flow is such a special ministry. Thank you and blessings to you."
Erwin and Ethel Bloch
"Todd and I would like to thank you for playing the harp during the prayer service and Tyler's funeral service. You provide a wonderful service to people when they need it. God bless". Love,
Todd and Melody Costello, St. Matthew Lutheran Church members who lost their baby in a tragedy.
We first played for this lady’s mother at Medina Hospital. "I want to thank you once again for playing at my mom’s funeral. I just can’t tell you how many people have told me how touching the service was with the intertwining of the harps. Thank you so much for helping me, my father, and my family through that difficult time... God bless you as you bring moments of peace to those who hear you. May God keep you in His arms."
- Linda M. Motznik
"Thank you, dear one, for your gift of music, given so freely and so lovingly. What a blessing for each of us. You have so many talents, each so unique and you share them so abundantly and generously. But most of all you give so much love, and that is the greatest gift. Thank you for blessing each one of us with your presence, your beautiful harp music and your love". Blessings,
The Late Harriett Freeman, Retired therapist/counselor, Galion, Ohio
"Thank you for bringing a memorable afternoon to Westfield Companies and for sharing your exquisite musical talent. We have received over fifty letters and comments from employees who thoroughly enjoyed your performance of August 18, 2000. We pride ourselves in having an employee cafeteria that offers a reprieve from the daily rigors of a business environment. Your concert provided a much-needed venue for personal inspiration and relaxation". Yours truly,
Pat Schiesswohl, Westfield Companies
Dear Rev. Lucht, (November 30, 2001)
Pat Strapko O'Leary, RN, MBA Former Executive Director HOMC
"It meant so much to Barbie and me to have you both play at Tom's funeral. So many relatives and friends expressed their warm feelings for the two beautiful harp players. I have always appreciated your musical talents, now they have touched my heart. Thank you so much." Fondly,
"Thank you for your kind words, prayers, friendship and comforting music. Dad so enjoyed it. God bless you in your ministry."
Pat and Larry Kubat
"Thank you so much for sharing your time and harp music with Mother, Helen Sarver, at the Ohio Pythian Home... Her wish was to be with God soon and your part in easing her path toward that wish is greatly appreciated. Many thanks from her entire family! May God always bless and guide you in all that you do. You were one of her angels on earth!" Thank you,
"Thank you so much for playing for Marie. What a powerful witness of healing and love. Jim and I were touched by it as well as Marie. She continues to respond to it as I play the CD over and over. It is really soothing. You have brought a great deal of joy to all our hearts. May God continue to bless your gift of music which uplifted our spirits. His blessings always surpass the asking." Sincerely,
Jim and Diane
"I have had two occasions to hear and learn about harp therapy and can truly understand the comfort it brings. We sincerely hope your program can expand and reach as many people as possible who desire the comfort and peace of the harp."
Ron and Tina Brick
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