I just had to share this wonderful video, article, and slideshow about harp therapist Marilyn Lemke as she plays for herself and others in the chemotherapy infusion room of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA. It's too beautiful and inspirational not to share.
I had the pleasure of meeting Marilyn on the very first day of my own harp therapy internship at Abington Memorial Hospital several months ago and she was so warm and encouraging. As a fledgling harp therapist it means a lot to receive words of support from those who went through the same process of first masking and then gradually shedding the layers of self-consciousness and uncertainty in the service of a greater calling. I had no idea at the time that she was dealing with cancer (I hesitate to say "struggling with" or "battling" cancer since Marilyn's graceful approach to the situation seems to go beyond simple adversarial metaphors), and even watching the video it's difficult to believe that such a vibrant person is anything but the picture of health.
This story provides a taste of what wonderful things live harp music can do for patients, staff, and visitors: The Harpist - Part I and Part II.
*"The tension needs to be lighter than most harps. Tight-tensioned strings produce a tone too bright for the comfort of many patients, especially when played at the bedside. Patients on morphine drips are especially sensitive to the bright sounds of a harp with tight tension."
- Christina Tourin Cradle of Sound: Harp Therapy Manual