PHLIPSBURG – Every week day from mid December until Christmas Eve, socially distanced musicians serenaded SMMC’s patients and staff from the open-air patio. Music drifted down the wards and floated around the hospital allowing staff and visitors to enjoy the entertainment from wherever they were.
Musicians came from The St Maarten Chamber Orchestra (string section), students from National Institute of Arts performed songs from their latest musical Hamilton, Dow’s Musical Foundation, SDA Sunshine Band and Soualiga Jump Up Brass Band to name a few.
Video by Tim van Dijk
One musician in particular felt an extra special sense of pride and joy to be able to play for the patients and staff. Ty and his brother Jermain Jr. on drums, are both in school and the youngest members of The One Love Band, a group made up of their family, friends and pastor. Ty was particularly happy to play guitar alongside his father Jermain Farquharson. Jermain has been a dialysis patient at SMMC for the last 4 years, spending up to 12 hours per week receiving treatment at the hospital.
‘Some of the patients that my father goes to dialysis with are here at the hospital today so knowing I could come with my father who is also a patient to spread the joy is a good feeling.’
Covid-19 restrictions mean many patients, staff and front liners workers in hospitals have spent long and tiring hours isolated from friends and family. Despite Christmas being just a few days away, loneliness, isolation and the fear of catching the coronavirus has seen a marked increase in anxiety and depression. SMMC Communications Officer, Shari De Riggs observed this trend.
‘World wide there’s been an energy and feeling of sadness and despair. People are losing loved ones and it’s definitely something collectively that everyone in this world is facing and going through.’
Shari de Riggs talks about the program
SMMC’s Medical Director Dr. Felix Holiday expressed his wishes for the hospital,
“After an incredibly difficult year, we would like to spread some Christmas cheer in a safe and responsible way. As such, we’re calling on all local talent to donate their time to serenade our patients and staff during the Christmas season”
This feeling of positivity and hope at SMMC is extending to the coming year through planned initiatives and programmes for the people of St Maarten. Shari de Riggs outlined the following plans for SMMC’s community engagement.