Songs for Healing

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Ron Noecker ’07 just released
Healing Songs at Christmas

“Healing isn’t separated by race or religion. The Christmas season is a time of love and caring for all people, no matter who you are,” says Ron Noecker ’07. He has just released Healing Songs at Christmas, an album dedicated to people living and working with cancer.

Noecker is a nurse at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Weinberg 5D, an oncology unit with patients living with solid tumors, intractable pain, and constant reminders of their mortality. In his prior career, as a priest who would incorporate song into his homilies, Noecker gained an understanding of how music can help heal the human spirit. “There are some sentiments and feelings that can only be conveyed through music,” he says. “Singing a little song can help patients get through some of the bad moments.”

When a patient with retinal blastoma had one of those bad moments, Noecker sang to her a 4th century chant entitled “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” Over the course of her hospitalization, she would often ask Noecker to sing to her-just “one more time.” Though she died last November, Noecker has dedicated the song, the first recording on the Healing Songs album, to her.

“Singing at the bedside isn’t the same as singing in an opera hall,” says Noecker. “My music is intended to accompany contemplation on all the mysteries of life and death. It encourages people to think ‘what is all this about?'” The album includes several traditional carols, a Spanish rendition of “Hail Mary,” four pieces of Appalachian folk music by John Jacob Niles, and a touching version of “Auld Lang Syne” sung by Noecker and his 11-year-old niece.

In fact, says Noecker, the song “Auld Lang Syne” was instrumental in the production of this album. The inspiration for the project came just as he was completing his first year as a nurse, and Noecker did not have the funds to produce the CD himself. While working on New Year’s Day, he set up his keyboard in the nurses’ break room and was soon joined by nurses, doctors, and patients in singing the traditional “Auld Lang Syne.”

The unity and harmony of that moment later gave Noecker the courage to ask colleagues to support the production of Healing Songs through $100 sponsorships. “Every nurse or doctor I asked immediately said ‘yes, of course!,'” says Noecker, who was seeking 50 sponsors and easily obtained more than 70. For each donation, the sponsor will receive 5 CDs and 10 additional CDs will be given to cancer patients discharged from The Johns Hopkins Hospital this holiday season.

To order Healing Songs at Christmas, visit www.HealingSongs2008.com or e-mail Ron Noecker at healingsongs@mac.com.

–Kelly Brooks-Staub



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