Musicians perform at St. Joe’s

If music be the food of love, play on! so begins Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

If music be the food of love, play on! so begins Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

‘Tis the Christmas season of love, goodwill, and charity  and the physicians, staff and volunteers at St. Joseph’s Hospital were treated to a musical feast last week to express community appreciation for their dedication 365 days of the year.

Sue Medley — a two-time Juno Award winner who toured with Bob Dylan, opened the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and played Madison Square Gardens with Eric Clapton — was one of the performers in St. Joe’s cafeteria, the Sisters’ Café.

“It’s a pleasure playing for the good folks at St. Joe’s,” Medley said. “Thank you for inviting me.”

Topnotch Comox Valley musicians (more than 50) generously donated an hour of music including Luke Blu Guthrie, Anela Kahiamoe, Blaine Waldbauer, Dick Stuart, Al West, Tracy Canil, Christoph, Lynn Hodge, Donna Griffith, Linda Safford, Beth Hopkins, Gladys Schmidt, Vince Sequiera, Martha Massey, Ruth Allan, Pat Jackson, Maureen Bedford, Jilli Martini, Ken Limber, Marcia Haley and Jackie Lambeth.

Helen Austin, 2011 Artist and Songwriter of the Year, posted on Facebook that St. Joe’s was her “favorite gig of the year!”

St. Joe’s has many accomplished musicians on staff who came in on days off to donate an hour of music. Tom Walton’s Dukes of Dodge had Gary Miles and Kevin Jay Flesh; David Somers’ and David Hext’s Celtic Cargo Cult included Bob Henderson and Chris Manuel; Dale Graham’s melodic Indigo Jazz had Rick Husband on guitar; and the singular sound of Dr. Doug Anderson’s Jazz Syndicate featured bassist John Hyde with Aaron Amar setting the pace on drums.

“It’s a privilege working with St. Joe’s dedicated care team,” said organizer Steve Hill, director of pastoral care. “The outpouring of gift-giving by the musicians in appreciation of our community hospital is just an incredible gift and blessing of kindness.”

New president and CEO Jane Murphy agrees. “The generosity of the very talented musicians giving back to the hospital at this busy time of year is deeply appreciated.”

Pharmacy manager Trevor Fox “felt so blessed that so many local artists gave up time to perform for our staff. Thank you!”

John Zuk is St. Joe’s fine food services supervisor. His popular fresh baked fruitcake, gingersnaps, mincemeat tarts, and shortbreads disappeared quickly.

Verna and Karen, two Café Food Services staff said, “Staff feel appreciated. We heard many people saying this lifts their spirits and is good for morale.”

Two newborn babies and proud parents were among the many patients and residents serenaded by St. Peter’s Choir during an evening caroling walkabout. Ian and Judy McIntyre, Rich Revel, Holly Davies, Chris Burton were joined by surprise popular bluegrass singer Tammy Fassaert.

Another special treat was the Views’ Chime Bell Choir featuring long-term care residents Roy Benson, Ann Davis, Elaine Murphy, Millie Nawrot, Edie Roberts, Susan Simmons Thelma Stevenson, Bernice Loudfoot under the capable direction of music therapist Nicole Burgess.

The celebrations wrapped up on Friday with a visit from Santa Claus (Jon Ambler) and Mrs. Claus (Jill Ambler). Staff and their families were treated to a free digital photograph courtesy of Jim Peacock, assisted by ubiquitous elderly elf Denny Beeman.

The grand finale dessert of the gourmet musical feast was served up on a silver platter by local favorites the Jenn Forsland Quartet with Jenn providing sweet vocals, Rick Husband on guitar, Tony Morrison on sax and flute, and Grahame Edwards on bass.

Sarah Savage, RN, said the week was “absolutely fabulous.”

“The live music filled me up. They replenished me and I get to take that back to my patients,” said grateful RN Nadine.

In the spirit of charitable giving, the hospital collected donations for the Samaritan’s Purse, and for the local food bank, and promoted St. Joe’s Casa Esperanza payroll deduction plan for the poor in Nicaragua.

— St. Joseph’s General Hospital