On Monday, Hope Keithahn, a rising Rock Bridge High School senior, and Piper Page, a rising New York University freshman, made the 650-mile trip from Des Moines, Iowa, to Fort Collins, Colorado, in Keithahn’s family’s Honda minivan.
Keithahn, 17, a cellist and vocalist, and Page, 18, a vocalist and pianist, are on a three-week road trip visiting children’s hospitals across the country to perform for patients, families and staff.
“I wanted to do something different this summer that combined all of my interests — performing, traveling, hanging with friends and service,” Keithahn said.
Keithahn comes from a musical family and has previously performed in hospitals around Christmastime with her family. She asked Page, whom she met in show choir at Rock Bridge in 2016, to join her on a summer trip.
“I always loved this idea of putting music in hospitals, into children’s lives, no matter what their circumstance is,” Page said.
Keithahn and Page started their journey in Boston, where they played at Floating Hospital for Children. At Floating Hospital, they played for a younger audience, so they selected Disney and pop songs.
One 8-year-old girl recorded their performance of a song from the “Moana” soundtrack to put on her YouTube channel.
Other songs in their lineup include Adele’s version of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love,” “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae and “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack. They also perform worship songs such as “Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells and “You Say” by Lauren Daigle.
Page also performs original songs, and Keithahn plays solo movements from the Bach suites and a more contemporary cello piece called “Julie-O” by Mark Summer.
At each hospital, Keithahn and Page play for about 45 minutes.
“A lot of the kids have certain amounts of times that they can be out and about just because they get tired very easily,” Page said, so the two often play for staff and visitors.
Andrea Colliton, director of Child Life Services at Tufts Medical Center, said Keithahn and Page’s performance was uplifting for patients. Integrating the arts into a hospital setting is therapeutic and provides a nice break from the medical routine.
“There’s more to life than just illness,” Colliton said.
Along with Floating Hospital, Keithahn and Page have visited the Children’s National Medical System in Washington, D.C.; the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; and Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa.
They handle the long drives by switching time behind the steering wheel, and they avoid driving at night. They also listen to music and podcasts to pass the time.
Keithahn and Page have also made time for tourism and family visits along the way. In each city, the two have stayed with friends of Keithahn’s family to keep costs down.
The trip is self-funded, but Keithahn and Page said several friends and family members inquired about funding their trip. Keithahn and Page set up a GoFundMe link for supporters to donate to the Children’s Miracle Network. As of Monday, they had raised $827 of their $5,000 goal.
Keithahn and Page plan to visit Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora; Shriners Hospital for Children in Park City, Utah; and Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City before their trip ends Sunday.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.