National Symphony brings music to those too ill to attend concerts

Posted on: December 19, 2013

An unsigned report at Wednesday’s (12/18) CBS-DC (Washington, D.C.) reads, “Donald Ayers, in a hospital gown and a wheelchair, is a patient at the National Institutes of Health. The D.C. resident has been sick for five years. He used to play saxophone, but he can’t anymore. ‘Because of my ailment, I can’t produce any wind to make a sound. So, I just listen.’ Ayers is one of many beneficiaries of the National Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Sound Health’ program, which launched this year. Sound Health involves musicians making ‘house calls,’ or traveling to perform for audiences that are too sick to attend a performance at a concert hall. On Tuesday, the seven-story atrium of the NIH Clinical Center was filled with a brass quintet playing Christmas music for a full hour. One by one, patients came out to get a closer look and listen. ‘The sound travels to every floor to every patient,’ NIH Clinical Center director Dr. John Gallin told WNEW’s Kimberly Suiters. ‘The doors are open and the music just flows into their room.’ He believes the music has a significant emotion impact. ‘Any time there is a positive distraction from illness, it’s always beneficial.’ ”

Posted December 19, 2013

Photo of National Symphony Orchestra brass quintet courtesy NIH Clinical Center