About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Music therapy at Spotsy Regional

Amanda Banocy was one of the performers in the "Music in the Halls" program at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. (Photo supplied by the hospital.)

Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center is using live music to brighten the spirits of its patients and staff. The hospital started a “Music in the Halls” program just before Thanksgiving. Since then, two solo artists, a string quartet and a church choir have performed.

The concerts last from 30 to 90 minutes, said Rob Toonkel, guest services leader. The instrumentalists played in the main lobby, while the choral group performed Christmas selections in the main lobby, the emergency department lobby and the patient floor lobbies.   

“We used to always believe that everything had to be treated medically,” Toonkel said. “Now we know that there are all sorts of alternative therapies–music, arts, pets–that make people feel better even when you’re not giving them a medication.”

Susan Cruse was another of the performers at Spotsylvania Regional. (Photo supplied by the hospital.)

Toonkel said he has queried local high schools, looking for musicians who want to showcase their talents. The volunteers get a free meal in the hospital cafeteria. He hopes to keep the sounds coming through February.

So far, the artists have been:  Amanda Banocy-keyboard; Susan Cruse-harp; Cameron Hall, Brooke Stanley, Silvie Chang and Joel Goodloe-string quartet; Trinity Bible Church-Christmas carols.

The next concert will be at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, when another choral group will perform Christmas songs. All performances are free and open to the public.

(For more information about the hospital’s music program, check out the Dec. 15 entry in its blog here.)


  • Rochester

    I heard Kiss will be playing in the cafeteria this weekend.