One patient described a tranquil, calm state of mind upon being greeted by the music of Sitka Hollow Strings when entering a lobby of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. “Fantastic! The mandolin really complemented the cello and gave the music a warm, welcoming feeling!” they wrote.
Sitka Hollow Strings, from Gettysburg, is an eclectic musical duo consisting of mandolinist Mike Shaffer and cellist Danielle Karppala. This unlikely combination of instruments converges sound worlds and styles to create a peaceful music experience.
Danielle is classically trained, holding music degrees from The Hartt School of Music and Penn State. Mike is a musician of the folk tradition from Franklin County. His favorite genre is inspired by the Appalachian style. He also performs as a historical storyteller and strolling minstrel. He has a special interest in the tales and songs of the Pennsylvania Germans.
Mike says that the duo plays all genres of music and works to find the specific music for the hospital. They take any requests but specialize in classical, American traditional music, and popular classics. They say that the enchantment of the music is evident when they notice people in the hospital visibly relaxing during their performance. “We try to change the hospital environment to a soothing, calm experience,” he says. “My hope is to allow people to momentarily forget about things they cannot change.
Another visitor commented, “Very soothing. Helped take my mind off the stress that comes with a caretaker’s job with family members. Thank you!”
“Performing at the medical center is the highlight of our month,” says Danielle. “We love the positive energy that we put out there because it comes back to us. This is special because we feel like we are serving a larger purpose here than any of our other gigs!”
Find out when Sitka Hollow Strings will be performing next here. Link here