Watch CBS News

Harpist Calms Nerves At Fall River Hospital

FALL RIVER (CBS) - It's a beautiful moment of calm at a time when many people are anything but, and it's a soothing sound when many people are looking for relief.

The performance happens in a hospital lobby, courtesy of a volunteer musician and at the tender age of 18, she's not only helping others, she's creating her life's work.

Arilyn Mitchell has been playing the harp for nine years, and for six of those years she's been coming to the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, volunteering to perform once a week.

Arilyn Mitchell
Arilyn Mitchell at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River (WBZ-TV)

"I play everything from Bach to the Beatles," she says.

And it's for an important reason. "Harp music, it tends to bring a little respite and calm to what I know can be a stressful situation for not only patients and their families, but also for the employees of the hospital, the doctors and nurses," she says.

For people perhaps nervously waiting for word about a friend or family member, the performance space becomes an oasis.

"We're here waiting for my mom who's having day surgery, and it just kind of takes that edge off," says Lisa Carpenter.

"I think this is great. It's relaxing. It's calming," adds Peggy Waldron.

Arilyn Mitchell
Arilyn Mitchell at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River (WBZ-TV)

At 18, Arilyn is on her way to a professional musical career. She performs with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and in the fall, she's off to college in London, at the Royal College of Music.

"When I'm performing I guess I go into a sort of Zen, especially if it's a piece I'm very well acquainted with. I know it so intimately I can fall into this place where it's just me and the music," she says.

And visitors, patients and hospital staff are all the richer for it.

Despite her busy schedule, Arilyn also volunteers to perform at Newport Hospital.

Arilyn has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for college.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.