Music in hospital: “This has really made my day”

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The wards and corridors of Southmead Hospital Bristol were filled with the sound of music this week when Welsh harpist and soprano singer Joy Cornock came to perform for patients.

The visit was part of the Trust’s Fresh Arts music programme which has seen a variety of musicians and performers coming into the hospital to play for patients.

Joy regularly plays in hospitals through Superact, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve people's lives through creative means.

She said: “Everyone seems to have enjoyed it. The patients have found it relaxing and some of them have even drifted off to sleep. It’s great to be able to come into hospitals and see the reactions on patients’ faces when I play for them.”Harpist Joy Cornock plays to patient Daisy Thomas as part of the music programme at Southmead Hospital Bristol

Patient Daisy Thomas from Staple Hill was serenaded with a Welsh folk song and a hymn when Joy came to play for her on Wednesday afternoon. She even got to try playing the harp herself.

Daisy said: “It’s marvellous. It does something to you. She has such a beautiful voice. This has really made my day.”

Bev Davies, Ward Sister, said: “Music for patients is such a lovely distraction. Most people enjoy listening to live music as it creates an atmosphere of happiness and makes our patients feel special and valued.”

Ruth Sidgwick, Arts Programme Manager for the Trust, said: “We work with world class performers who play brilliantly for our patients and staff – as one of our staff said on a recent visit, it’s ‘like she [the harpist] has sprinkled a little bit of stardust over the ward’. 

“Something happens when you hear live music – the body has this visceral response where the notes seem to vibrate through one’s veins. 

“I swing from singing along and laughing to finding myself in tears watching how people are affected by the music and how much it moves them.”

A native of Fishguard in Pembrokeshire, harpist and soprano singer, Joy Cornock has had an interest in music from an early age.

After receiving an entrance scholarship in 2004, she entered the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where she has recently completed her B.Mus. (Hons) degree and graduated with First Class Honours.

Joy has previously performed with the Welsh National Youth Opera and has also taken numerous operatic roles at college as well as regularly taking part in master classes. She now enjoys a career performing across the world. Her website is