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Arts For Wellness concert series at the South Health Campus bringing music to patients, families and staff


A variety of local artists are hosting hour-long concerts in the South Health Campus Wellness Centre, in a project that blends performing arts with the healing variety.

Kelly Morstad is an arts advocate and founder of the Arts For Wellness concert series, a pilot project funded by an Alberta Government grant of $11,300.

"The people at Alberta Arts and Culture and specifically the minister (Tanya Fir) thought that this would be a very good application of arts into healthcare, a wonderful fusion of benefits," he said. "When artists can make money, that lets them practice their art -- they aren't expecting to get rich, they are just grateful that they are able to participate in the art world and living (the) artist's life."

Morstad is also a musician and hosted one of the concerts and says it demonstrates how live music can improve the day-to-day experience for all Albertans in many different settings.

Organizers say they are learning a lot from the pilot program.

"Where the best place to put the artists are isn't always appropriate," Morstad said. "It isn't always in the right place and the process we're going through here is allowing us monitor time of day, location, type of music, all of the things that we can find out where they fit best in a healthcare environment."


Michelle Strom is the site director at the campus and says more than 300 people have attended the concerts and she's seeing positive feedback from them.

"It's very nice to see patients who have long stays come down here with their family members or even just by themselves," she said. "It gives them something to do, something to break up their day and get off the unit and experience an activity that they may not have organically through our hospital."

Strom says she's attended a few of the concerts and can see how the people attending are benefitting.

"Even some of our staff come and they sit," she said. "They may not stay for the whole hour, but they come in, they sit for as long as they can and it's just a little bit of break in their day."


Laurie Perez is a music therapist and regularly visits patients in their rooms. She says music is a powerful tool for healing.

"I think music has that ability to really connect with people and to bring about their personality and just give them that enjoyment in that moment," she said. "The concert series can really help to normalize and provide that cultural and social experience for people to make it more enjoyable."

Steven Dorscher and Joshua Park make up a duo called Solatido. They're from Calgary and are honoured to play at the hospital.

"We don't have any doctorate degrees or anything like that to help patients physically," said Park. "But maybe we can help in some way to reach something in the inside for them, give them some encouragement, because it's hard to be at the hospital for some people and they need music, it can be sort of therapy to them."

Natalie Delfs came to the hospital for an appointment and heard the music when she was coming down the elevator and took a seat to hear more and watch the duo.

"I sat there for a while and such beautiful music that those guys are doing," she said. "It just totally brightened my soul, gave me some good vibes and some inspiration I'm going to take with me for the rest of the day."

Shelly Rain came to the hospital with a couple clients specifically to listen to the music because she says it brightens her day.

"I'm going to start crying," she said. "It's the voice of the soul, it's music to the heart and it just is very amazing that these performances are happening because people in recovery and healing from illness, they listen to music and I think it expedites or recovery."

Morstad is hopeful the pilot project turns into a regular occurrence at Calgary hospitals.

"This has got the opportunity to not only make the health care areas more accessible to music, but the musicians themselves are very grateful for the opportunities and the potential opportunities here," he said. Top Stories

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