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Musicians on Call offers healing respite for Las Vegas hospital staff and patients

For a brief but welcome 90 minutes or so Wednesday, the usual sounds of a hospital — the beeps and squeaks and buzzes created by hospital equipment — were replaced by the sweet, soulful, moving, rocking notes of country music.

The occasion was an acoustic concert at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center that offered a healing respite for the hospital’s staff and Sunrise patients who are recovering from injuries received in the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting.

The show, sponsored by Musicians on Call, a Nashville-based nonprofit , brought the healing power of music — as delivered by country artists Filmore, The Railers, Brandon Ray and Michael Ray — to the hospital’s auditorium.

Earlier in the day, the performers toured the hospital to talk with and play for patients and staff. The previous evening, they met with Sunrise emergency room staff members who took care of the first wave of shooting victims and also visited University Medical Center Tuesday, said Pete Griffin, the organization’s president.

Griffin said Musicians on Call brings music to hospital bedsides and health care facilities around the country.

“We don’t have any regular program in Las Vegas, but after everything that happened (at the festival), we felt we needed to come here,” he said. “We just said to ourselves, ‘These are our people that were affected by it,’ and we just felt this was something we needed to do. We wanted to show the Las Vegas community how much Nashville cares for them.”

In addition to meeting with victims and first responders, the performers met with hospital caregivers, a group of emergency responders who, Griffin said, sometimes can be overlooked.

“Last night, one of the nurses I talked to said, ‘I’ve had a lot of tears of sadness. These are the first tears of joy that I’ve had,’ and that’s what we’re about. We’re not focused on the tragedy as much as we are focused on people who were affected by it, to make them feel better, and we use music to do that.”

“We’re going to play some fun songs for you,” said Cassandra Lawson of The Railers at the start of the trio’s set. “I know it’s been a really, really heavy week. We’re going to play some fun stuff. Just have a good time. If you want to wriggle it out, just dance in the aisle, you just use what the Lord gave you, OK?”

Brandon Ray played the Route 91 festival Saturday and recalls Keith Urban calling him afterward to ask if he was still in Las Vegas.

“I was like, no, I’m not actually in Vegas. He was so distraught, and he said, ‘We have to do something. These are our people.’ And that is so true.”

Lori Kammer, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, suffered a gunshot wound in the pelvis in the shooting. She attended Wednesday’s show with her husband, Todd, and called the event “fantastic,” both for herself and her husband who, she says, has “been by my side since Day 1.”

“There has been a lot of stress over the last 10 days, highs and lows, ups and downs,” Todd said, and “when we heard this was happening, I wanted her to get out and be a part of this.”

Another surprise: Lori had a brief Facetime conversation with Reba McEntire, who offered Lori her prayers and apologies that she coudn’t be there in person.

Kurt Fowler, a firefighter with the Desert Hills Fire District in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, suffered a gunshot wound in the right leg. It was, he said, “just nice to get outside the room and see other people and spend time with the artists and thank them for what they do and their continued support for us.”

“Music heals the mind, it heals the body, it heals the soul.”

Contact John Przybys at reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

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