If you could see Dr. Ellen Janke or Dr. Jenna Devare in action in a U-M operating room, you’d probably notice how confidently they handle the complex equipment of 21st Century surgery.
You’d see how every operation is a team effort, with surgeons, anesthesiologists, residents, nurses and technicians each playing their part to help every patient.
But if you come to Hill Auditorium this Sunday afternoon, you can see Dr. Janke and Dr. Devare engaged in another kind of teamwork: the kind it takes to play in a 70-member symphony orchestra.
Together with dozens of other medical and scientific professionals and students from around the university, they’ll present a free concert as the U-M Life Sciences Orchestra.
The LSO will kick off its 15th season of blending music, medicine and science with works by two of the most famous composers from Scandinavian countries: Jean Sibelius, from Finland, and Edvard Grieg of Norway. An overture by Beethoven will start things off.
Both doctors, and other LSO musicians, brought their instruments to work for these fun photos taken by another LSO member, retired physician and viola player Dr. Bern Mueller.
The team, the team, the team
The entire LSO “team” has been rehearsing for this performance every Sunday night since October, giving them a weekly release from the demands of caring for patients, performing research or studying technical fields.
When they come to the LSO’s Sunday evening rehearsals, the orchestra’s doctors, nurses, dentists, graduate students, medical students, engineers and research staff leave behind their workplace identities and ranks.
And when U-M conducting student and LSO Music Director Roberto Kalb raises his baton, they become musicians above all else. Kalb is working toward his doctorate in orchestral conducting at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance. He’s assisted by Jacobson Woollen, a master’s degree student in the same program.
The LSO is one of the signature offerings of Gifts of Art, a program of the U-M Health System that brings visual and performing arts into many areas of the medical campus. And for many LSO members, it’s the only chance they get to express musical skills and talents they’ve been developing for years.
“Since childhood, music has always been an important part of my life,” says Devare, who is training to become an ear, nose and throat surgeon. “The LSO provides me with a wonderful opportunity to continue making beautiful music and to collaborate with U-M physicians, scientists, and trainees in a new context, helping to balance my life as an otolaryngology resident. I am lucky to be a part of such a multitalented group!”
Janke, an anesthesiologist, says, “I never cease to be amazed by the musical talent that exists within the Health System, and in the broader reaches of the life sciences. It is an utter privilege to play in this orchestra. And I love it when I see colleagues in the audience!”
Carl Engelke, a trumpet player who is working toward dual degrees in medicine and biomedical science at the Medical School, agrees. “Music has always been a very important part of my life,” he says. “Since I joined in 2011, the LSO has been a wonderful way to keep playing music with others even during the busiest times of medical school and graduate school.”
Take the next step:
- Learn more about the LSO Concert, which begins at 4 p.m. and is free with no tickets required
- See what all the LSO’s members do in “real life”
- Find out about Gifts of Art, the UMHS program that sponsors the LSO and much more
The U-M Life Sciences Orchestra, founded in 2000, is part of the Gifts of Art Program, which brings arts and music to the U-M Health System. The LSO includes dozens of faculty, staff, students, alumni and family members from across the U-M medical and science community, and is conducted by students from the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance. The LSO gives two free concerts a year, and holds annual auditions in September.