A group of students and faculty traveled from the halls of Baylor College of Medicine to the stage of Carnegie Hall, trading their stethoscopes and microscopes for their orchestra instruments to fulfill a performer’s dream of playing at one of the world’s most famous venues.
They are part of the Texas Medical Center Orchestra, which performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 24. The concert, “Houston Proud: Celebration of Hope,” featured the Bayou City Chorale and the KIPP Sharp Singers, a group of third and fourth graders from the KIPP SHARP College Preparatory School, singing along with the orchestra.
For medical student Kelsey Lau, one of the best moments of the performance was when the orchestra premiered “Celebration of Hope,” a piece written and performed by some of the pediatric cancer patients in the Purple Songs Can Fly program at the Texas Children’s Cancer Center. Part of the Arts in Medicine program, Purple Songs Can Fly gives patients the opportunity to express themselves through writing and recording original songs.
“It was truly exciting to be able to join my musical hobby with my future career serving patients,” said Lau, who plays the violin.
Lau and Effie Rahman, a BCM medical student who plays the cello, both were amazed by the acoustics at Carnegie Hall.
“I’ve always heard that the ‘Carnegie Hall experience’ is one that nobody ever forgets, and the rumors are true! The concert hall is so beautiful and really is one of the most acoustically perfect stages in the world. You could hear every single one of your own strokes, which is very rare in an orchestral performance, and the vocalists projected so beautifully even without microphones,” Rahman said.
The students also got to enjoy other memorable experiences in New York City, including visiting the 9/11 Memorial, exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art and attending a Broadway musical.
Other BCM members of the TMC Orchestra include Drs. Anne Anderson, associate professor of pediatrics; Danielle Herder, surgery resident; Johns Wilks, anesthesiology resident; Lynn Zechiedrich, professor of virology and microbiology; Rajeev Raghavan, assistant professor of medicine; and Daniel Musher, professor of medicine and orchestra concertmaster; along with other student members Kershena Liao, Jonathan Konopinski, Robert Lynch, Alex Bonnel and Kenichiro Fujiwara.
-By Dana Benson