For patients needing long-term acute hospital care during the holiday season, it can be difficult to experience holiday joy. The staff at RML Specialty Hospital understands the need to spread holiday cheer, and achieves it with holiday caroling, a lovely, heartwarming tradition.
Chris Bacchi and Ken Pawola (Inventory Manager and Chief Operating Officer, respectively, at RML Specialty Hospital) and other RML staff, volunteer their time to offer a special show to RML patients and families. “This is the 20th anniversary, and my sixteenth year, of this fun holiday tradition,” said Bacchi. “Early on, there weren’t instruments, just vocals. We’ve recently raised the bar; Ken and I play guitar, and we’ve added a ukelele player and a multi-instrumentalist playing the recorder and other percussion instruments.”
Carolers spend several hours performing at each of RML Specialty Hospital’s two locations (Hinsdale and Chicago). The repertoire includes classic Christmas carols, plus some fun Christmas songs by Springsteen and other popular artists. “After caroling at the Hinsdale location, we have an informal jam session in the lobby,” added Bacchi. “We play rock songs, including some favorite Beatles tunes.”
Caroling took place on Tuesday, December 12th at the Chicago location, and will again on Thursday, December 14th (5:00 pm) at the Hinsdale location. “This is one of the best kept secrets at RML,” said Bacchi. “We do our best to help patients and their families, to lift their spirits. Some patients who normally have trouble moving find a way to wave their hands with the music. It’s so heartwarming, sometimes I think it does us more good than it does them.”
Interestingly, last year as carolers sang, a nearby patient on an EEG machine showed normalization of brain waves, reinforcing the belief that music and singing help create a calming effect for listeners.
Written by Denise Freese
Original article can be found here.