Australia has it, Europe has it and now it's New Zealand's turn; to experience the combined talents of the New Zealand Doctors' Orchestra.
This is not healing through music, although some might see it that way, it's a full orchestra of top musicians, who also happen to be doctors and medical students, coming under the baton for the first time next weekend in Nelson.
The inaugural performance of the 65 member New Zealand Doctors' Orchestra will play a full programme of popular classics at the Nelson School of Music at 2pm on Sunday afternoon, June 24th, following two days of intense rehearsals from Friday to Sunday.
And as with the other doctors' orchestras overseas, all the proceeds of the performance will go to charity.
"This is the tradition in both Europe and Australia, where the all ticket sales go to charity, and the NZDO will be donating these to the Nelson Region Hospice Trust," says gerontologist and the University of Otago's Professor Tim Wilkinson.
"All the musicians are paying their own way to Nelson and covering all costs of the venue hire so all money from ticket sales can go to the hospice."
"It'll be a very exciting moment for us, and I hope the audience, to have New Zealand doctors and medical students playing their hearts out for Nelson and New Zealand," says the keen Christchurch double-bassist.
Professor Wilkinson says there is no shortage of musical talent in the medical profession, and believes one complements the other. He says a majority of the orchestra players have reached a top level in their musical performance (grade 8 or above), while some have even studied music at university or played in regional orchestras.
"We have uncovered a wealth of musical talent and enthusiasm out there. So many busy doctors and medical students have volunteered and are delighted they now have the chance to use that talent, and play in a large national orchestra, with colleagues of all ages, and for a very deserving charitable cause."
Wilkinson says part of the reason for the formation of the NZDO is the belief that music helps to maintain a work-life balance for people in a demanding job, improves collegiality and reinvigorates the many talented musicians in the medical profession.
The programme in Nelson will appropriately open with Lilburn's 'Aotearoa Overture', the '5th Symphony by Tchaikovsky', the first movement of Schumann's piano concerto and two Puccini arias.
The soloists are Nelson surgeon and pianist Adrian Secker, Nelson physiotherapist and soprano Tara Martin, with Mark Hodgkinson conducting.
"I'm confident the NZDO will surprise and delight, and provide a unique musical afternoon to remember in Nelson on June the 24th," says Professor Wilkinson.
Bookings online: www.nsom.co.nz, by telephone: 03 548 9477, or at the Nelson School of Music, 48 Nile St. Door sales on the day.
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