Hannah Cooley works at a high-risk pregnancy unit at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. But in her free time, she’s also a harpist.
Cooley says that a lot of the patients she sees are bed-ridden and can’t go anywhere or do much of anything. They’re dealing with complicated physical and emotional situations like antepartum and postpartum depression, so they’re stuck in one place for weeks or even months. After realizing the hospital she worked at offered an arts and medicine program, she decided to volunteer to play harp for people on her days off.
“When these moms are in a bed for weeks, months, they need something new,” Cooley says.
Cooley came from a family with seven children; five girls and two boys. She’s a middle child. She’s also in the “middle” in the harp ensemble in which she sits between two fellow players. The group started performing at small churches before deciding to play at the hospital.
“We started out playing for a lot of country churches at revivals, and they’re still my favorite place to play,” Cooley says.
Cooley recalls when the group was invited to the White House to play background music for Christmas tours. She says it was really fun, but the best part was being in the historical building.
“Just to be over there and play where all the history has been made, to serve my country in some little way that I could was a big deal,” Cooley says.
Cooley is going to keep playing for patients at the hospital, and truly believes that volunteering and sharing her musical talent is important to the people there.
“I think that serving and loving others benefits you the most,” she says.
Written by Marina Marquez.