CALL FOR MUSICAL PHYSICIANS: Join Fort Worth’s First Medical Orchestra

by Allison Howard

This article was originally published in the July/August 2022 issue of the Tarrant County Physician. You can read find the full magazine here.

Physicians, dust off your instruments—Fort Worth’s first medical orchestra is looking for healthcare workers who have a dual passion for music and medicine.

The group, which is being organized by retired physical therapist and flautist Susan Fain, is expected to begin rehearsing this fall.  While the details are still being ironed out, Susan says that everything is falling into place.

“We are collaborating and negotiating for a space, conductors, and music,” she says.  “And it looks really good.”

Susan, who holds doctoral degrees in both physical therapy and flute performance, was first inspired about 10 years ago when she heard the Doctors Orchestral Society of New York. She soon discovered there were over 30 such orchestras throughout the U.S., and she saw it as the perfect opportunity to marry her passions.

“In medicine you’re helping people, and in music, you really are helping people,” she says. “You’re helping yourself, learning to create, and all of that discipline is across both professions.”

She believes this could be a step toward work-life balance for those who love sharing music with others but have set their instruments aside due to lack of opportunity. Now, she is ready to create that opportunity, and she is thrilled to do so in a city that is rife with a passion for the arts.

Susan, whose career was divided between practicing physical therapy, pursuing music, and raising her five children, has played flute in both civic and professional orchestras. And her experience organizing events and groups is extensive, ranging from planning classical concerts to putting together a small orchestra (where she served as the conductor!). Now, retired from physical therapy and ready to devote herself fully to her love of music, she is thrilled to start this next endeavor.  

“I want to be like Esther – ‘You might have been born for such a time as this,’” Susan says. “To bring the two halves of my life together and make them both count.”

It seems she isn’t the only one that feels that way. As the word spreads there has been a lot of interest; so far, 10 instrumentalists have committed to the orchestra, and more have expressed a desire to get involved. 

Ultimately, Susan’s goal is to form a full orchestra that will perform a handful of concerts each year to raise support for local charities. She believes it will enrich the community and be a chance to cut through much of the noise created by the constant challenges in the practice of medicine.

“Performing is like creating an oasis for the audience,” she says. “This is a moment where you can forget the outside world, and all the things going on in society that we struggle with, and we can sit for a moment and just stop and reflect on truth and beauty. That, to me, is what it’s all about.”

For more information about the Fort Worth Medical Orchestra, contact Susan Fain at sdfain1@gmail.com or 405-830-2107. 

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