88Nine Radio Milwaukee

The Marcus Center brings holiday cheer to hospital patients and staff

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Life during the pandemic can be hard, especially if you’re a patient at a hospital this holiday season. The Marcus Center is using music to uplift  hospital staff and patients.

Heidi Lofy, vice president of experience and engagement at the Marcus Center, says that as she and her team heard about a potential winter increase in Covid-19 cases they started to worry about what patients and hospital staff could be facing.

“My programming and outreach team said, ‘Wow, we’re starting to feel bad again about people who are in hospitals,’” Heidi says. They wondered, “‘Is there something that the Marcus Center could do to bring some joy through the arts into those facilities during this holiday season?’”

So the team decided to produce a video holiday concert series that staff, patients and their families can watch on demand.

“We all know that arts and music in particular can be healing for people,” says Heidi. “It impacts people and it takes them away from their everyday cares and worries.”

Rana Roman performs a hit from “Frozen” for the Marcus Center | Courtesy of Marcus Center

There are four performers for the series, Paul Helm, Rana Roman, Chris Crane and Cynthia Cobb. On the Marcus Center stage, they sing a variety of songs and holiday favorites. The video series is a way for people to feel as if they were at the Marcus Center watching a performance.

Heidi says the pandemic has been hard for the arts. Like almost every performance venue, the Marcus Center has had to stop holding in-person events. 

As vaccines for the coronavirus have people looking forward to being out and enjoying gatherings again, the events of 2020 leave behind a lot to process.

“I think we all are reacting to all of everything that’s happened with the uprising, Black Lives Matter, and reassessing how we are focused on equity and being anti-racist,” says Heidi. “How do we take those messages and really use art to heal and move people forward? I think this time, while it’s been incredibly difficult for artists and people who want to enjoy art, there’s going to be this explosion of amazing creativity that kind of comes out on the other side.”

For now, Heidi says that the concert series can hopefully heal people alongside hospitals that are doing the same.

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