Image shown: Healing Sounds Musicians 2015-16

WHAT (Waterford Healing Arts Trust) welcomes a new team of musicians for its Healing Sounds in the Wards programme for the coming year. Once a month, Susan O’Neill, Beth McNinch and Eoin O’Meachair mentored by Liam Merriman will bring live music to the bedside of patients in Medical Wards 2,4 & 5.

WHAT, based in the WHAT centre for Arts and Health at University Hospital Waterford, is one of Ireland’s leading hospital arts programmes. In 2000, it established the Healing Sounds programme with the aim of reducing stress and anxiety for patients, staff and visitors of UHW through live music. The programme promotes a range of musicians and musical styles and, where appropriate, encourages patients and staff to engage with the performing musicians.

The musicians will be mentored by Liam Merriman, who qualified as a trainer of hospital musicians with Musique et Sante, Paris and who has vast experience of working within the music and health context.

Susan O’Neill graduated from Waterford Institute of Technology in 2011 with a BA in music. She is a singer who plays guitar, harmonica and saxophone and has performed with bands such as Propeller Palms. Susan has performed both locally and nationally at festivals such as the Tall Ships festival in Waterford and the Electric Picnic festival in Laois. Susan is currently attending a childcare course and hopes to qualify as a special needs assistant.

Beth McNinch, a graduate of both the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and the Royal Academy of Music in London. Beth plays violin and viola and has performed in many Orchestras including the RTE National Symphony, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the Ulster symphony Orchestra to name but a few. Beth attended CALM, a “Music & Health” training course in 2014, which she found to be a remarkable experience, highlighting the power of communicating through music.

Eoin O’Meachair is a traditional Irish musician who has been playing banjo, mandolin and tin whistle from a very young age. Eoin’s late Grandparents were a huge influence on his early musical endeavours. When both fell ill to Alzheimers, he would play music for them in the nursing home environment and was amazed to see the difference music and song made to their day. Eoin is a member of the band, An Caladh Nua, a five piece group who have toured the globe over the last number of years and have produced three albums to date.


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