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Staff, visitors enjoy Healing Sounds
Hospital offers music program
Lorretta Marks plays a harp in the lobby of Northside Hospital-Forsyth on Thursday as part of the Healing Sounds program. - photo by Jennifer Sami


To audition to volunteer for Healing Sounds at Northside Hospital-Forsyth, call (770) 844-3587 or e-mail

Lorretta Marks was turning heads all morning Thursday.

It’s not every day staff walk the halls of Northside Hospital-Forsyth to the tunes of 36 gently plucked harp strings.

“I’ve been so amazed,” she said. “Not being a nurse, doctor or aide or anybody, I really was amazed how much the staff really cared, and that they need the music as well.”

Marks, a certified music practitioner, is one of a handful of volunteers participating in the hospital’s new program, Healing Sounds.

The program, which is still auditioning new volunteer musicians, “allows performers to provide soothing sounds to the terminally ill, music to calm patients in pain, and also may be used in a rehabilitation setting,” said Gloria Wyatt, coordinator.

“This had been my and Lorretta’s dream to bring this to the hospital,” she said.

Implemented at the hospital’s Atlanta campus in 1999, the program has grown to include CDs, videos and air time on the hospital’s in-house cable channel.

Healing Sounds in Forsyth offered the first performance Sept. 5, though Wyatt is confident the program can grow to the same size as the main hospital campus.

The program was made possible through a $4,000 grant from the Forsyth County Arts Alliance. The musicians are all volunteers.

Wyatt said the money will help bring in a piano for larger performances and replace broken strings and other equipment costs.

“We were fortunate enough to be awarded that grant so we were able to implement that program here,” Wyatt said. “It’s so exciting to see it grow. Every time I talk about it I get excited.”

Marks, a longtime Forsyth resident, was going to offer her services to the Atlanta campus, but “it just seemed natural” to do so locally.

“Why should I go down Ga. 400 every morning down to Northside in Atlanta when we have a need right here?” she said.

Volunteer musicians perform in the hospital’s lobby. Certified volunteers are welcome to perform in other areas of the hospital, including the intensive care unit and pre-operation areas.

Marks said she feels “blessed” to be able to perform for patients and families going through a difficult time. It’s also a great way to give back to the staff, she said.

“The moment I entered pre-op and the staff turned and looked and they saw the harp, you just heard this sigh of relaxation,” Marks said. “It’s a gentle reminder to the staff of what they’re all about.”