Stories from the Harp: Fourteen Years Later
The second installment in our therapeutic music series comes from Angi Bemiss in Atlanta:
"In May 2015, I played the harp at a friend’s church about 2 hours from Atlanta (where we live). Afterwards as my husband Kevin was loading the harp in the parking lot, a lady came to him and said, “That’s only the second time I’ve heard a live harp. The first time was when my teenage daughter was born as a tiny preemie. A lady played the harp in the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit), and I still remember how much it relaxed me and my baby during that scary time.” My husband asked which hospital, “Oh, not here – at Northside Hospital down in Atlanta.” Kevin responded, “That had to have been Angi who played for you. Please let me introduce you to her.” It has been fourteen years (!), and we got to meet this precious mother and her very healthy teenage daughter. We all had tears in our eyes!
The music I play is quiet and “simple,” but I have the great joy of seeing the tangible evidence of its impact – smiles, tears of joy, and obvious changes on patients’ monitors. I have played in Northside’s NICU for almost 17 years, and from the very beginning the nurses have marveled at how the babies’ alarms stopped beeping within just a few minutes of the music starting. Mothers who are struggling to nurse their tiny babies comment about how their baby relaxed. What we know, of course, is that it is partly the baby’s response to a mother who also relaxed!
In other departments, the music soothes the patients, their visitors, and the medical staff (plus food services and housekeeping staff members). Simply stated, there is nothing that compares to the honor and sense of “right time, right place” that comes from providing therapeutic music to those who need it so deeply."
Angi Bemiss is a Certified Music Practitioner in Atlanta, GA. Her musical journey took an important turn in 1989, when her husband surprised her with a harp (and lessons) for their 10th wedding anniversary. With the harp, Angi realized that she would have the opportunity to quietly serve others with the peaceful and unique sound that comes from its strings. Almost from the beginning, it was her desire to play the harp in hospitals, and she has since provided thousands of hours of live therapeutic music to create a healing environment at the bedside and in the medical departments of hospitals, plus in hospice, memory-care and home settings.
If you have a personal story, photo or video that speaks to the therapeutic power of music, we would love to share it as part of this series! You can contact us here.