Girls bring happiness to patients at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs |

Girls bring happiness to patients at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs

Kay Vasilakis
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Submitted PhotoYvonne Lawhead of Battlement Mesa gives appreciation to Lea Linse-Collins, Mackenzie Small, Waldorf School teacher Megan Gardner, Jamie Range, Bronte Gilman, Justine Timms and Claire Woolcott, who had just performed "Union Train" for her in her Valley View Hospital room.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Waldorf School eighth-graders Claire Woolcott, Justine Timms, Mackenzie Small, Bronte Gilman, Lea Linse-Collins and Jamie Range are a group of girls who started singing room to room at Valley View during Christmas, and liked it so much they make arrangements for hospital performances once per month, and some of them are considering volunteering during the summer.

Serious sickness can be intimidating for such young people, but the group has visited the home of a hospice patient.

“We went to the house of a hospice patient,” said Mackenzie. “She had trouble speaking, but after we were done, she actually spoke several phrases, and the family busted out in tears.”

The impact of their caring stays with them.

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“It’s amazing how much we can do for people who are so sick,” said Bronte.

The group also visited a frail, blind man in acute care. When Holistic Harmony Music program coordinator Lesa Russo told him he was surrounded by a group of beautiful young women, he just smiled.

“All our patients love them” said Russo. “This group of girls is very mature and empathetic. I go on all of their class trips, and have gotten to know them quite well, and I don’t invite many kids to play at the hospital, let alone for hospice patients. But I know these girls, and trusted they could graciously handle the situation.”

A 14-year old male, who didn’t know anyone in Glenwood Springs, was in an automobile accident on his way to the X Games. He had been in the hospital more than a week, and the singing to him was a great diversion from his troubles. They felt a realization that events of this kind can happen at any moment, and the preciousness of life suddenly became intense.

“I teach them songs every morning before we do math,” said Waldorf eighth-grade main lesson teacher Megan Gardner. “We sing every day because it is beautiful and lifts our souls. It connects us to other people and cultures. It is a powerful way to learn new ideas and languages. For all the reasons and more, we begin every day with song.”

Some of the songs the girls practice are “Siyahamba ” We are Marching in the Light of God,” an African song; “World Chant,” singing “peace” in four different languages; and “Union Train,” a U.S. Southern traditional song.

Christi Small said her daughter Mackenzie and Jamie canceled a special event because of their commitment to the hospital performance.

A stay in the hospital can be very lonely, and some people don’t have relatives to come and visit. A few moments, and a little friendly touch can go a long way to speed recovery.

After the girls sang two songs for her that night in April, Yvonne Lawhead said, “You made my day.”

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