Interested in music? Like orchestras? Albert Lin sat down with the Michael Crone, co-chair of the Medical Music Society to talk about what they do.
What’s the aim of the Medical Music Society? What started it?
There’s actually quite a few medical music societies around Australia and the world (NSW Doctor’s Orchestra, Australian Doctor’s Orchestra), but those orchestras don’t let you build up relationships in the way that weekly rehearsals can. And while there are orchestras on campus, they don’t necessarily have the flexibility you need when you’re at hospitals until 5 or 6pm. We just saw a spot that needed to be filled, and we thought that we could facilitate the musical passions of medical students. And thought why not do it for a good cause? So we also have a community branch and facilitate students visiting nursing homes and children’s hospitals, things like that.
You’ve mentioned that there’s a chamber orchestra and also many other smaller groups as part of your Community, Classical-Contemporary division. What kind of music and instruments specifically does this encompass?
The Classical-contemporary is pretty much anything. Anyone who wants can join, and that’s just our place for small music groups. We have duets, singers, guitar groups, really weird combinations of instruments. Like a brass quartet with two trombones, a french horn, and a trumpet, which isn’t the most…usual combination, I suppose. But these are the groups that we send to children’s hospitals and nursing homes, because it’d be hard to organise sending an entire orchestra there.
You’ve already raised over $4,000 for various charities since 2016. What charity will your next concert be supporting? What will the concert include?
We’ve called the concert Mozart and Saint-Saëns, mainly because those are the two main pieces we’ll be playing. This concert will be featuring Isabella Pak, a second year medical student performing a solo with our orchestra. She’ll be playing Saint-Saëns’ Cello concerto No. 1. Then Austin Lee, a final year medical student is performing Mozart’s flute concerto No. 2 with us. We’re also throwing in a bit of anime music from Joe Hisaishi. This concert will be raising money for the Spinal Network again, like we did with our last network. The Spinal Network is an Australian and New Zealand charity that aims to unite the spinal injury community and improve care.
Medicine is a rather intense course. How have you found managing the balance between studying and commitments such as the MMS?
If you want to do something enough, you’ll find the time. What’s good about this society is that rehearsal-wise, we have less rehearsals and we’re more flexible about attendance. The aim is to have fun, improve musically, and help the community any way we can while doing it. It’s been a challenge, lots of late nights, but it’s been fun.
So, why should people join?
Because it’s fun. Our orchestra isn’t just open to medical students. We’ve had engineering people, education people, drama people, and it’s good to meet people. As long as you like music and want to join an orchestra, come along!
Favourite piece MMS has done?
Nimrod by Elgar.
What would be the best instrument to physically eat with?
Probably a cello, because of the spike on the end.
What modern piece would be the most fun for a classical orchestra to play? (i.e. pop, rock, jazz, rap, etc.)
There was a Coldplay medley that a music student composed specifically for us. That was really fun.