Music to Soothe Wounded Warriors

–Every Friday, Carolyn Surrick, Ginger Hildebrand and Sue Richards drive from near Annapolis into Washington, D.C., to practice their music. For a year and a half, the Ensemble Galilei performers make the trek every week to Mologne House, an outpatient hotel for Walter Reed soldiers who manage without round-the-clock care.

These practice sessions were the brainchild of viola da gamba player Surrick, who thought she could get more out of her practice time.

“As musicians, you practice all the time. It occurred to me that our practice sounds pretty darn good,” says Surrick. “I could practice just as easily somewhere where it would mean something as I could in my own living room.”

Surrick recruited Hildebrand and Richards to play with her for wounded warriors at Mologne House.

“We come in and make it seem like not such a hospital one day a week,” Surrick says.

Soldiers told Surrick she has so improved their lives that they wanted more.

“These guys can’t sleep,” Surrick says. “They’d ask if we could come back at night.”

Schedules made evening lullabies impossible. So Surrick and her trio gave the soldiers copies of Ensemble Galilei’s CDs. The sound of the full six-person ensemble, however, was not what the soldiers were used to.

So Surrick, Hildebrand and Richards recorded Above and Beyond, a CD specifically for the Mologne House soldiers.

“The music is really beautiful and calm,” Surrick says. “We designed it so it would be really helpful to people who have PTSD and who have trouble calming down.”

The recording has been a big hit at Mologne House, where free copies were distributed. To raise funds, however, the trio had to start raising their profile. They sell the CDs for $15 at performances and thru West Annapolis’ Art Things store. All funds support producing new CDs and Operation Warrior Fund, a charity that sends the children of felled soldiers to college.

Hear for yourself, Sunday, June 13 at a free concert in Annapolis’ St. Margaret’s Church. Pick up your copy of the CD after the show.

But heed Surrick’s warning.

“Don’t listen to the CD during long car rides,” she warns. “It’s very soothing.”

See 8 Days a Week for concert details.