Australian singers tune into patient care

Christine McGinn and Marnie Banger
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Instead of climbing the charts, ARIA award-winning artist Megan Washington is sending her latest tracks into hospital wards.

Washington has created a lullaby-style song with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra to be released on the Hush Foundation’s Parenthood album.

The album is the brainchild of the foundation, which seeks to transform the culture of healthcare through the arts, including by releasing music to help reduce stress in hospitals and other care areas.

“I’ve always wanted to write a lullaby-style of song for my son, and the TSO, with arranger Paul Hankinson, have made my music come to life in a way I couldn’t imagine when I wrote it,” Washington said.

Other singer-songwriters part of the charity’s 20th anniversary album are Emily Wurramara, Kate Miller-Heidke, Mama Kin and Naomi Crellin.

Each began their songwriting process by speaking with patients, parents and hospital staff.

Miller-Heidke said it was a rare privilege to meet with mothers, some of whom were going through the most difficult time of their lives.

“A lot of what they said ended up making its way into my song lyrics, directly or indirectly, but it was really informative and creative,” she told reporters in Hobart on Tuesday.

The album will be sent to pediatric wards across the country, who have told the charity they use an earlier version to foster a calm environment.

Hush Foundation founder Professor Catherine Crock said that’s important because healthcare is inherently “very stressful”.

“It’s difficult as a patient, it’s difficult as a family member to come into this sort of environment which is very clinical and busy and stressful, and then feel as calm as you possibly can,” she told reporters.

A launch concert with the orchestra is in the works for 2020.

The album is the 18th produced by the organisation, of which more than 75,000 copies have been sold so far.

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