Oakland University
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Medical students serve the community with their music

Medicine’s taking a new form for Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) students — except this form is a little outside the traditional sphere.

First there was DocApella, a group of a cappella singers that wanted to combine music and community outreach in a fresh, fun way.

Now there’s a new group, Spinal Chords, that is continuing that approach to serving the community around it through orchestral instruments.

Spinal Chords is devoted to sharing the love of music with the surrounding community, particularly Beaumont hospitals, according to OUWB student Ashley Aller, violinist and member of the group. Its most recent performance was at the Royal Oak campus of Beaumont Health System, where members sang, played guitar, piano, cello and more.

It was formed by Aller and fellow students Namrata Kulkami, Milan Anderson and Jenny Truong when they realized the potential of the talent in the OUWB program.

“The main focus of this group is to connect students with service concerts in a fun, relaxing and meaningful way,” Aller said. “Music has the ability to touch a person's life in a profound way, and it is our hope and our dream that we bring joy and amusement, and beauty to all who come to listen or happen to stop by.”

Aller, who was introduced to the violin in second grade, says she has always been in music and is amazed by the way it brings a community together.

“It makes people stop, reflect, and hopefully bring cheer to their day,” Aller said. “It encourages audience members to share stories about their experiences with music, and strengthens the bond among community members.  ”

When she came to the OUWB she was amazed by the level of musical talent of the OU community, just as her fellow Spinal Chords founders were. They wanted to create something unique and meaningful that would allow them to share those talents.

She’s not the only one. Including Aller there are currently 22 members in the group and a growing number of classical collaborations. Most of these students have been lifelong musicians, but some have just gotten started and are exploring the new world of music.
Lunch n' Learn:

The Spinal Chords will be making an appearance at a March 23 Lunch n' Learn where the topic will be “The Healing Arts: Music and Art as Therapeutic Intervention.” 

“We see ourselves more as a family rather than individuals,” Aller said.

One of the exciting things about Spinal Chords, Aller said, is that it isn’t just for students.

Faculty, family and friends of students are more than welcome to participate if they have a love for music and commitment to service.

Spinal Chords will continue to perform, and anyone is encouraged to visit the page on MedSync to get involved or stay updated.

“We hope that everyone will enjoy our performances, and that we bring a bright moment to their day,” Aller said.

Groups of medical students give a cappella and orchestral service concerts at area hospitals.

Created by Colleen Campbell (cjcampbell@oakland.edu) on Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Modified by Colleen Campbell (cjcampbell@oakland.edu) on Friday, March 13, 2015
Article Start Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2015