Casper Civic Chorale sings Christmas carols to WMC patients
By Kristy Bleizeffer Dec 18, 2017
Thursday was a tough one for Betty Jones of Casper. After severe stomach pain, doctors admitted her to the hospital the day before to figure out what might be causing it.
She underwent several tests. She was tired and not feeling great. A few people had mentioned “cancer.”
Then, Thursday night, she heard the sound of Christmas carols echoing the halls of the surgical floor. Soon after, the carolers from the Casper Civic Chorale surrounded her bed and sang directly to her. Betty – Mom to 5, Grandma to 13 and Great-Grandma to 16 – sang along.
“It made my day, because it had been a bad day,” she said. “Not totally bad, because three of my friends came and sang to me earlier. The carolers were wonderful. I could have laid here and listened to them all evening. This is a beautiful time of year.”
In what has become an annual tradition, about 20 carolers from the Casper Civic Chorale sang traditional Christmas carols to patients and staff Thursday evening. The chorale canceled their Christmas concert several years ago because December is so congested with holiday performances, said Gary Gasser, Chorale president. But the singers still wanted to do Christmas music, so now they take their carols out into the community. They sing in several retirement and nursing homes, at Elkhorn Rehabilitation Hospital and at Wyoming Medical Center.
“It’s very rewarding. We know that several patients are in stressful situations or they are in pain. Just to bring a smile to their face is very rewarding,” Gasser said. “They’re usually happy to see us. As long as we don’t sound too bad, they appreciate the tune. It just helps ring in the Christmas season.”
Numerous studies link music therapy to improved healing. We already partner with the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra’s Music on the Move program to bring music into the hospital through the year.
“Wyoming Medical Center is always looking for innovative ways to help our patients feel better,” said Caryn Dowell, executive director of the Wyoming Medical Center Foundation. “Music therapy fits into the hospital’s larger wellness initiatives. As Casper’s only community hospital, our mission is to “advance the health and wellness of our community,” and that means caring for the whole patient – in mind, in body and in spirit.”
The carolers started in the McMurry West Tower lobby. They visited our medical and pediatric floors before making their way to the Jerry Behrens MD Orthopedic, Spine and General Surgery Center, singing in hallways before serenading several patients in their rooms.
Jon Sauceda was on the medical floor when he heard the voices down the hallway. He asked that they come in and sing to him.
“I’ve sang to others before, several years ago, but I’ve never been on the other end of it. It feels really good,” he told the carolers.
“I could hear you coming up the hallway. The chorus, the whole sound; It kind of hit right here,” he said, poking his chest with his index finger. “It was awesome. Thank you.”