San Ramon Regional Medical Center nurse sings for veteran families abroad

Nurse sings at concert series in Taiwan

A globetrotter and nurse at San Ramon Regional Medical Center traveled to China earlier this year where she was able to sing at two benefit concerts for World War II veterans.

San Ramon Regional nurse Francine Fitzgerald has been singing, playing guitar and traveling with the Chinese band Arthur & Cool Cats for the past 15 years, and most recently in May the group was invited to Taipei, Taiwan, where she performed in a concert series that featured popular American songs from the 1950s and 1960s entitled “Memory Lane.”

“Connecting with people and making them feel good is what I like to do. Performing and nursing are a lot alike. It’s that heart-to-heart connection,” said Fitzgerald, an occupational/employee health nurse at San Ramon Regional.

The concert benefited Chinese veterans who fought as an ally of the United States during World War II. Hospital officials say that after Chinese residents moved to Taiwan in order to escape the Communist revolution, American music became highly popular.

“Being the one Caucasian in an all Chinese band is a huge compliment,” said Fitzgerald, an occupational/employee health nurse at San Ramon Regional. “I was first asked to sing this traditional Chinese folk song 'In a Far Away Land’ at the San Jose Chinese Cultural Fair a few years ago and then asked to sing it again at an international Chinese medicine conference, in front of Chinese doctors from all over the world. From there, our band was invited to perform in Taipei. Singing this beloved folk song in Chinese for the Chinese is a huge honor.”

Hospital spokespeople say "In a Far Away Land" is about a Chinese maiden who tends her sheep in a remote land when along comes a boy who sees her beauty.

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