NUI Galway Medical Students Hit the Right Note

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Music and medicine will come together at NUI Galway on Tuesday, 22 March when the Medical Orchestra is unveiled at the Arts in Action Traditional Concert. The School of Medicine at NUI Galway is the first to launch this exciting initiative which is giving its multi-talented medical students an opportunity to showcase their musical skills. The 25-piece orchestra will open the concert, which is being headlined by renowned traditional musician Mairtin O'Connor and his five-piece band. Preparations are well underway for the orchestra's first concert under the guidance of Mary McPartlan, Professional Singer and Creative Director of the Medicine and the Arts Module at NUI Galway and Musical Director Carl Hession, a music teacher at Colaiste Iognaid in Galway City. Many of the students who volunteer their time are accomplished musicians who are thrilled to work together under the guidance of Mary McPartlan and Carl Hession, who has composed and arranged the music for their performance. The students have been rehearsing on a regular basis and have been joined by a recent medical graduate, Dr Lisa McAnena, who will be the soloist when the orchestra first performs in public. Third-year Medical student, 22-year-old Julianne Harte is looking forward to the concert. The Loughrea student began learning the viola when she was seven. She has also played with the National Youth Orchestra and the Galway Youth Orchestra. "I am really looking forward to it. It is an interesting project to be part of," she said. One of the highlights of their performance will be an arrangement for the uileann pipes, which will be played by second year Medical student, 20-year-old Elvin Moynagh. Elvin, from South Dublin, has grown up listening and playing traditional music. "My mum plays the button accordion and my father plays the banjo. Traditional music has always been a part of life at home." The Medical School hopes to receive support to invest in a piano and music stands, which would greatly facilitate the orchestra's rehearsals. Dr. Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education at NUI Galway, and Chairperson of the Medical School's new Arts committee, said: "Patients benefit greatly from music as they try to cope with and recover from illness. I firmly believe that music can be the medicine of the mind. Our new orchestra will showcase the wonderful, but sometimes hidden talents of our medical students, and bring some joy to the wider community through their public performances. We are indebted to both Mary McPartlan and to Carl Hession for bringing this idea to life. Both School Administrator, Therese Dixon, and College Director of Strategic Development, Declan Ashe, have provided tremendous support to the project from the outset." Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, has been strongly supportive of the integration of the arts into the undergraduate medical curriculum. Her daughter, Jennifer Scott, will play violin in the new orchestra. The concert promises to be an exciting evening for lovers of music. Following the first performance of the Medical Orchestra, Mairtin O'Connor and his band (Jimmy Higgins on percussion, Steve Hanks on saxophone, Seamie O'Dowd on guitar, Cathal Hayden on fiddle and banjo and Gary O'Briain on mando cello and piano) will take to the stage. The concert takes place on Tuesday March 22 at 8pm (Doors open at 7.30pm) in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway. Tickets for this concert are available from the Societies Box at Aras na Mac Leinn, NUI Galway or by calling 091 492852/ 091 492088. Tickets are €10, €5 for students.
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