Dana performances lift spirits of St. Elizabeth hospital patients

Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music is partnering with the Mercy Health Foundation to bring music to patients at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

“The healing power of music has been very well received by patients, families and staff,” said Paul Homick, president of Mercy Health Foundation.

“Music is very powerful in addressing the well-being of the whole person. 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. We know this will be a tremendous benefit to them, and we are so very grateful to YSU, the Dana School of Music and the students and faculty who made this possible.” 

The project is called “Just What the Doctor Ordered” and includes broadcasting four prerecorded video performances by Dana students to patient rooms at St. Elizabeth Youngstown. 

"Sharing our music with the patients and staff at Mercy Health is one small way we can give back to the community of health professionals who have done so much for the Valley this year,” said Randall Goldberg, Dana director. “I look forward to the growth of this partnership and to a time when our students and faculty may perform at Mercy Health - St. Elizabeth and deliver our thanks in person." 

Originally 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 this past Fall 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 COVID-19 pandemic emerged, the idea was put on hold. At the same time, Dana 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.

More information at 330-727-7514.