Samantha Sears Sings Songs of Healing for Patients

sam-sears-1CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Samantha Sears’s mother claims that her daughter started singing before she started walking.

The popular singer-songwriter troubadour plays everywhere she can from Clarion to Pittsburgh in wineries, breweries, cideries, bars, cafes, events, and everywhere in between.

“Anything that needs music I try to be part of it,” said Sears.  “I’ve played at airports memorial services, yoga classes, a little bit of everything.”

One of the most rewarding venues for a few years has been hospitals the through the “Music Cares” program in the Pittsburgh area funded by Sonny Pugar Memorial Foundation.

“It’s a program where they send musicians to different health facilities around the Pittsburgh region to play music,” said Sears. “I’ve played at a few UPMC facilities like Montefiore and Forbes and regularly do it at the chemo unit or for bedside concerts for patients unable to get out of bed.”

A recent visit to Forbes demonstrated the healing power of music.

While playing for a patient and the patient’s husband at Forbes, who were enjoying the music tremendously, there was an exciting and positive observable change – the patient, who was getting supplemental oxygen, showed her oxygen levels rising.

“The ‘Music Smiles’ gigs are so rewarding,” said Samantha. “Even if the patients are lying back with eyes closed, you still see their feet tapping, and you know you are getting through and making a difference in their day.”

These music visits erase a bit of the stress of long days of treatment, a part of “Music Smiles,” the Pugar program that funds local professional musicians’ live performances in area health facilities.

(For information on donating or other ways to help, contact spugar@comcast.net.)

The hospital concerts are usually about an hour long, and she sings positive and uplifting songs and usually well-known songs and not obscure ones.

“Lately, I’ve just been bringing my ukulele because it’s the happiest sounding instrument. Sometimes at bedside there are a lot of older patients.  I did it last week, and what you do is walk from room to room with a nurse. The nurse asks if they would like to hear a song. I think that I did the Beatles ‘Here Comes the Sun’ like 500 hundred times because it was snowy day and gray outside.  Sometimes people ask for things – sometimes I’m able to do them, and sometimes I’m not.”

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Sears was destined to be a singer, and she has done her best to advance her career.

“I’ve always loved music; I’ve always been musical was always involved with music growing up whether it was band, choir, or talent shows at Keystone High School. There was also karaoke, but then I joined my first band that really sparked things. When that band parted ways, I didn’t want to have to rely on other people to make music, so I learned guitar and ukulele. I started playing at the Create Café in Brookville during their lunch hours and finding musicians to come in, and it just grew from that.”

Even though she majored in Anthropology at Clarion University, she always had music on her mind.  She officially started her music career in 2010 at Toby Hill in Clarion on Open Mic nights.

“I put in a lot of work into performing, and it’s paid off because my name is a little more out there now.”

2017 is the year she may finally complete a CD of her music. She met the owners of a studio in Pittsburgh through her many performances in the area, and they offered her an opportunity to record four one-take songs.  The owner let her know a couple of days ago that the studio is being remodeled and upgraded and said in a couple of months they could record.


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