Center Stage Arts in Health is blessed to have a cache of gifted musicians who joyfully share their talent by performing in lobbies and waiting areas in the hospital. “We are especially thrilled that some of those performers are our own employees,” says Director Claire de Boer.
Cheryl Foelker, RN, BSN, clinical case manager in the Anesthesia Pre-Op Evaluation Clinic, recently auditioned on the baby grand in the main lobby to become a Center Stage pianist. “I had played piano at coffee shops and at cocktail receptions in college for extra cash with no problem, but filling that space during my audition made me so nervous,” says Cheryl. “I was shaking and then the whole piano was shaking!”
All of the patients and family members who happened to be in the lobby at the time offered encouragement to Cheryl who was wearing her nurse uniform at the time. “I had some ladies telling me, ‘You’re doing great!’” Of course, Cheryl was welcomed into the Center Stage rotation with flying colors.
“I could be at home playing the piano for hours and hours, but this takes me to a whole different level. I’m getting used to it by playing twice a week after work. Soon, I hope to feel like I am in my own living room,” says Cheryl.
Cheryl, who has been at nurse with Penn State Health for four years, decided that playing the piano would be part of her yearly Performance Evaluation Process (PEP) goal – an endeavor that challenges individuals to achieve something out of their comfort zone. “I thought that sharing my music would be a great way to give back and good for me too. It took me a little time, but I finally found the guts to try it.”
Her specialty music is playing ballads from the 1930s and 1940s which she learned from her parents. She said she gets lots of smiles and “thank yous” from passersby. “It makes my day,” she says. Center Stage appreciates you too, Cheryl!