Singing Sensation Sweeping … The Hospital

As thankless jobs go, cleaning at a county hospital has got to be one of the most thankless. Most folks walk right by like you're not even there.

It must be horrible, CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reported.

"I love it," one worker said.

"Being happy, with a smile on our face," another said.

"We have a good time!" chimed a third.

Hartman could be wrong.

In fact, some workers here say their jobs have become downright joyous.

If you listened to them, you'd find out why.

The Environmental Services Choir sings loud enough to raise the dead.

Just down the hall from the dead — a morgue is at the end of a corridor — in the basement of Cook County's Stroger Hospital, this group gets together during their lunch hour twice a week. They've been doing it for the past three years.

They first formed this choir for what was supposed to be a one time gig — just a little performance for an Environmental Services office party.

But the singers had such a good time they're been rehearsing ever since, which no doubt pleases the man upstairs.

Really, the man upstairs — their boss Arndell Ricks.

"I approve of it and I think it's one of the best decisions I've made to say okay," Ricks said.

He says since the choir started, job performance has improved dramatically.

"It's an amazing thing," Ricks said.

"Once I get through singing and the spirit comes, I'm like, 'let's go, let's go, I'm ready for anything now!'" said mop specialist and lead singer Claudia Ellis.

So far she says the choir hasn't really performed for anyone other than a few coworkers, some mops and a broom or two. In fact, she never thought of this as anything more than a moment with God. Until Hartman brought it up.

"Would you be willing to give up this job if you got famous?" he asked.

"Yes!" she said.

And don't be surprised if they do catch on. Because they are, by far, the most contagious thing at this hospital.
  • Christine Lagorio

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