Thursday, August 19, 2010

Longwood Symphony Orchestra

Longwood Symphony Orchestra
August 18, 2010
DCR Hatch Memorial Shell
Boston's Esplanade 7:00pm
In the Mood

As everyone knows that Boston is the home to major academic institutions, i.e. Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Boston College, Wellesley College, Tufts and many others.  Likewise it is hotbed of excellence in Medicine and Biotechnology including notables such as Mass General Hospital (MGH), Brigham and Women's, Beth Israel, Deaconness, Dana Farber and companies including Amgen, Pfizer, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Genzyme, Vertex and countless others.  Similarly, it is the seat of world class science, e.g. Whitehead Institute and The Broad, Howard Hughes, etc.  It is therefore not surprising that many of these professionals have banded together to create great music.

Last night the orchestra played at the Hatch Shell, made famous by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.  It is an impressive venue for free concerts and movies and is packed to several hundred thousand on annual July 4th celebrations.  There are tributory stues of Arthur Fiedler, a Paul Dudley White, MD (notable cardiologist), Harry Ellis Dickson (late director of the Pops and father-in-law to ex-governor Michael Dukakis.    The venue is beautiful and the weather was simply gorgeous.  We had difficulty finding a parking spot on Storrow Drive which is available
for each concert, so we ended up parking on Charles Street in Beacon Hill and attending the 2nd half of the concert.  It was a charming Beethoven's 4th symphony.  It was led by Jonathan McPhee its conductor.  What they lack in talent is more than amply made up for by enthusiasm.  I am not a fan of amplified music which tends to be distorted and leaves the listener straining to hear the quiet passages.  The venue was terrific and the audience received the performance with great applause.  The theme of the program was "In the Mood"  The evening ended with a rousing performance of "In the Mood" made famously popular by Glenn Miller in 1939 in the Big Band Era. 

The orchestra is a Who's Who of medicine, science and academia and should be applauded for bringing great music to the public.  They also play at many local shelters, nursing homes and traditional venues.  Rather than bore the reader with full biography's, I thought that I would list the players who rightly deserve recognotion for their medical, humanitarian and musical contributions.


Sherman Jia, Concertmaster
3rd year, HMS, Howard Hughes Research Fellow

Hana Asazuma-Cheng
Music teacher (violin, viola, chamber music)

Catherine Brewster
English Teacher, Commonwealth School

Terry Buchmiller, M.D.
Pediatric Surgery, CHB, Co-Director Advanced Fetal Care Center, CHB

Jennifer Chang, Ph.D.
M.D. - Ph.D. student, HMS

David Chen, M.D.
Internal Medicine, Faulkner Hospital

Jennifer Chu
Freelance science writer

Mark Emerson, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Genetics, HMS

Sumi Fasolo, AIA
Architect, Cambridge Seven Associates

Tamara Goldstein, O.T.
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center

Anand Jagannath, M.S.
Research Technician, Cardiac Surgery, MGH

Elizabeth Henderson
Freelance Technical Editor

Heidi Harbison Kimberly, M.D.
Emergency Medicine, BWH

Anna Legedza, Sc.D.
Principal Biostatistician, Biometrics, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Shenkiat Lim
Director of Product Development, Fidelity Investments

Justin Lo
2nd year, HMS

Psyche Loui, Ph.D.
Research Instructor, Neurology, BIDMC, HMS

Spencer McClelland
2nd year, HMS

David Mish
ESL/History Teacher, Cambridge Public Schools

Ramona Nee, J.D.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Susan Pauker, M.D.
Associate Professor, HMS; Genetics Chief, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates; MGH. BWH, Lahey

Chris Richards, Ph.D.
Dept. of Biology doctoral program, Harvard University

Helle Sachse, J.D., Ph.D.
Asst. D.A., Suffolk County

Jenny Smythe, Ph.D.
Physicist, Schlumberger Limited

Ellen Tulchinsky, M.S.P.T.
Physical Therapist, BWH/MGH

Elisha Wachman, M.D.
Pediatrics, Emerson Hospital, BWH

Lisa Wong, M.D.
Milton Pediatrics Associates, HMS, CHB, MGH, BWH, BIDMC


Michael Cho, M.D.
Research Fellow, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, BIDMC, BWH, MGH

Sarah Cohen
Engineer, Rhythmia Medical

Jon Epstein
Software Engineer, Microsoft

Jennifer Grucza
Senior Software Engineer, Unica

Alistair Kok, D.D.S.
Dentist, Gentle Dental Cambridge

Elizabeth Ogburn
2nd year Ph.D. student, Harvard University

Jane Perera
Speech Therapist, Cotting School

Andrea Spencer, M.D.
MGH/McLean Resident in Psychiatry

Peter Stein, D.C.
Chiropractor, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, BU Sargent College

Nicholas Tawa, Jr. , M.D., Ph.D.
Surgical Oncology, BIDMC, HMS

Gwendoline Thornblade, B.D.Sc, M.Sc.D.
Retired Pedodontist

Leah Wilson-Velasco
Director of Operations, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra


Joseph Rovine, D.M.A., principal
Senior Software Engineer, Microsoft

Sylvain Casimir, R.Ph.

Nancy Chane, R.N., M.S.
Palliative Care Nurse, Tufts Health Plan

Gregory Crist
Interactive Media Designer, iFactory

Mark Cusac
Engineer, CDM

Heidi Greulich, Ph.D.
DFCI, Broad Institute, BWH, HMS

Katherine Hein, M.D.
Plastic Surgeon, MetroWest Medical Center, Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Tai Katzenstein, Ph.D.
Psychology, MGH

Denise Lotufo, P.T., D.P.T., O.C.S.
Harvard, UHS

Martha MacMillin
Cello instructor

Read Pukkila-Worley, M.D.
Infectious Diseases, MGH, HMS

Christopher Reuning
President, Reuning & Son Violins

Susan Z. Robins
President, Muscle Angels, a norbis Innovations Company, LLC

Andreas Schild, Ph.D.
Research Fellow, Center for Human Genetic Research, MGH

Martha Davis, J.D., principal
Professor, Northeastern University School of Law

Jack Dennerlein, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Environmental Health, HSPH

Karyn Wang


Tobi-Ann Kocher
Flute Instructor

Daniela Krause, M.D., Ph.D.
Clinical Pathology and The Center for Regenerative Medicine at MGH

Cindy Moore
Music, Framingham Public Schools


Michael Barnett
4th year, HMS

Hilary Cipullo

William Kates, M.D.
Psychiatry, BIDMC, HMS

Thomas Sheldon, M.D.
Assistant Professor Dartmouth Medical School; Director, Radiation Oncology Concord Hospital


Jeffrey Berman, M.D.
Pulmonary and Critical Care, BMC, BUSM

Mark C. Gebhardt, M.D., Ph.D.
Prof. of Orthopaedic Surgery, HMS, Orthopaedic Surgeon-in-Chief, BIDMC, CH Orthopedic Surgery

Tammy Avery Gibson
Cephalon Pharmaceuticals

Paul Silver
President, Handyman Heroes


Stephen Wright, M.D.
Chief of Medicine, Faulkner, BWH, TUSM, HMS

French Horn

Vanessa Gardner
Concerts Manager, MIT

John Hecker, AIA
Carr Lynch and Sandell, Architects

Leonard Zon, M.D.

Wolfram Goessling, M.D., Ph.D.
Genetics and Gastroenterology, BWH; Heme/Onc, DFCI; HST; HMS


Peter Cook
Computer Engineer

Paul Salinas
Shire Human Genetic Therapies


Jeremy Lang
Operations Manager, Elysium Digital LLC


Tom Sandora, M.D.
Pediatric Infectious Disease, CHB, HMS

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Longwood Opera

Boston is of course a city filled with institutions of higher learning and abundant musical avenues.  The Longwood Opera fills a unique niche giving amature singers a place to showcase their talent, charisma and a place just to have fun.

The Longwood opera may have taken its name from famous Longwood Medical Area intersected by Brookline and Longwood Avenues.  (There is also a very notable Longwood Symphony led by Charles Ansbacher, a local icon).  For a nominal charge, one can sit in the Christ Episcopal Church in Needham and hear several hours of varied music.  J Scott Brumit is largely responsible for this marvelous effort along with Jeffery Brody, the music director.
Since the summer is quite warm and the church is not air conditioned, there are electric fans and complimentary fans passed out each week.  Each week, there is a diffferent theme, but you never leave disappointed.  Refreshments (lemonade & water) are served along with M&M selections during intermission.  We have attended for many years and it is easy to say that the standards are improving steadily.  Most of the efforts by the performers are quite nobel and genuine, while a few are somewhat less that satisfying.  Much of the repetoire is well known, but selections by Humperdinck, Barber, Baby Doe and others are frequently interspersed.  At times you wish the singing would never stop. e.g. Puccini. The schedule for 2010 is presented below.

July 6 : An Evening of Opera

July 13: Broadway Melodies
July 20: An Evening of Opera Scenes
July 27: Presenting Rising Stars
August 3: Opera Meets Broadway
August 10: An Evening of Gilbert & Sullivan
August 17: More Operatic Scenes
August 24: More Broadway Melodies
August 31: A Gala Night of Opera

As you can see, they also did a very abridged version of "The Ring" sung in English. 

Hats off to all of the performers and volunteers at the Longwood Opera as we always leave with a warm feeling of good camaraderie.  We have conversed with several performers and indeed made friends of parents of the performers.  On a somewhat humourous aside, the women usually dress much better than the men.  You realy have to admire the dedication of the performers to rehearse, prepare and deliver the goods.  As we have begin to know some of the performers, one can only truly appreciate their dedication.  Opera is far from dead and these individuals as mentors and performers will keep Opera alive.  They even have a tee short which is emblazened with Opera for All.  In years past, they have sold records, tapes and CD's that were given by donation.  Tickets available at the doors are a very good value, parking is available across the street.  Bring your hearts, ears and soul and you will be more than amply entertained.