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‘Singing Nurse’ brings joy and healing through song

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 7:36 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Annabelle Abner was given a special gift from her grandpa at an early age: a ukulele.

Abner has used that gift to cultivate her own talent of singing and performing with the instrument. Now, Abner is a dual-major at Hazard Community and Technical College in Nursing and Professional Studio Artists at the School of Bluegrass in Hyden.

“He just, my pappy, he passed away, and it’s just something I feel connected with him still, and he loved listening to me play, and it’s just crazy to think. I’m self taught, so I started out knowing nothing, and I play songs for him.” She said.

Abner has been dubbed ‘The Singing Nurse’ by her peers at the School of Bluegrass. Scott Napier directs an ensemble Annabelle sings in.

“She showed promise early on, in high school, with her song-writing and performing on the ukulele, and then she showed up at the school and has been a huge asset for us,” He said. “I actually direct the ensemble that she’s in called the Mountain Songbirds.”

Abner began her nursing career at the Owsley County Comprehensive Care Center; helping seniors with their day to day lives, and, occasionally, singing for them. Abner had to leave Owsley County to follow her dream of being a nurse.

“I love all those little people, and I was so excited when they reached out to me, like ‘we all miss you, can you come back and sing for us?’ And I was like, I would absolutely love to, but I knew like it would be hard if it was just me, so I asked Scott and Virgil if they could come with me.” She said.

Monday, Abner returned to the Owsley County Care Center to sing for the first time since she left, something the folks there were very grateful for.

“You know something simple like that can cheer someone up, but it really does, like when they’re sick and you start singing to them and they start singing back and you know what, I cry with them and I laugh with them and it just means so much to me.” Said Abner.

Abner hopes to become a midwife when she graduates from nursing school. She plans on continuing her visits to the Care Center in Owsley County as well.

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