Musicians in Hospitals project closes as My Community Project funding ends

Musicians in Hospitals members: Stephanie Sims, Salvatore Rossano, Hayley Egan and Giri Mazzella.

 

THE final performance by Musicians in Hospitals has played its last note, as the project came to the end of its run.

Registered Music Therapist Bonnie Nilsson, who founded the group, told News Of The Area, “Back in 2019, thousands of Coffs Coast residents voted Musicians in Hospitals to be a project worthy of receiving My Community Project funding.

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“Last week – the beginning of December – saw the project finish with musicians performing each day across the Coffs Coast Health Campus.”

But it has been a long road for the project, led by Bonnie.

“After an extensive audition and training process, twelve local musicians started delivering the project at the hospital in March 2020, bringing joy and some welcome relief to patients, families, and staff.

“From Paediatrics to Surgical wards; Oncology to Fracture Clinic; the musicians roamed and filled the hospital spaces with music.

“Enter, an unprecedented world-wide pandemic… Covid-19.”

The timing, along with the extensive expansion of the Hospital were no match for the musicians as the jack hammers pounded and the virus took hold, Bonnie said.

“The six-month pilot expanded to two years and last week we saw the final week of Musicians in Hospitals literally play out as live music filled the corridors, waiting rooms and foyers of the old and new hospital building.”

“It was bittersweet to see the project finish,” said Project Coordinator Stephanie Sims.

“The stop-start nature of Covid has meant that we weren’t able to deliver the project as planned, but ultimately it has been a wonderful opportunity to see the power of music in action.

“Being part of the Musicians in Hospitals program has been rewarding in so many ways,” said local musician, Snez Dalceska.

“But what has been remarkable is watching the healing happening in front of our eyes, in wards, corridors and foyers.
“It’s been a privilege to be part of playing music in this fragile environment,” said Snez.

My Community Project was the first community initiative funded by the NSW Generations Fund and the Musicians in Hospitals project was a collaboration between Arts Mid North Coast and the Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

Bonnie concluded, “We hope that ‘our community project’ has shone a light on the greater therapeutic benefits of live music in the healthcare sector and that our clinicians and health care professionals continue in the pursuit of evidence-based live music models as part of their patient care strategies, engaging local musicians to soothe and serve during the vulnerable path to health and recovery. ”

Recognition goes to the musicians: Stephanie Sims, Bonnie Nilsson, Michelle Booth, Snez Dalceska, Hayley Egan, Salvatore Rossano, Giri Mazzella, Debbie Spillane, Brett Barber, Louise Thompson, Sarah Whitteron, Tony McFarlane and Gavin Harwood.

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

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