I started playing piano since I was about 4 years old because my mom was my piano teacher. I was never a big fan of practicing when I first started, but I stuck with it because I wanted to play with my mom and perform piano duets. I began playing violin at the age of 9 and played with several orchestras and churches. But most of all, I truly enjoyed spending time with my mom as I played the violin and she accompanied me on the piano.
I am currently a fourth year medical student at Wayne State School of Medicine and truly believe that music and healing have a strong correlation. When exams and daily schedules are hectic, picking up the violin to play music in the evening after work is always a perfect cure to relieve stress and refocus for the next day. There are numerous studies showing how studying classical music helps professionals become better team players in the real world and I strongly believe that this is a vital characteristic in today's hospital workforce. This is why I believe in the Detroit Medical Orchestra's mission to bring music in physicians' and patients' lives.
I'm also a big fan of Detroit and want to see it thrive. My favorite thing to do is to go for a long run along the Detroit River, go workout at the Downtown YMCA, and meet up with good friends at the Sugar House in Corktown or spend an afternoon at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
I started playing violin at age 4 and practiced begrudgingly for about a decade until one day I realized how much I actually liked it. Since then I haven’t stopped playing and I have been active in Detroit’s classical music scene studying with Geoff Applegate, formerly of Detroit Symphony Orchestra, playing as both a member and later as a mentor to DSO’s youth program, and I won the Eugene Bossart Prize while at the University of Michigan.
Playing in the DMO is a natural progression and I find myself rehearsing in the same space in Orchestra Hall that I had once rehearsed in as a teenager. Like music, medicine can touch people in personal and profound ways – my medical school entrance personal statement was about Brahms’ 4th Symphony.
Besides its music, I love Detroit’s food: BBQ from Slow’s, pizza from Motor City Brewing Company, and sea salt chocolate chip cookies from Avalon Bakery.
I started playing violin when I was eight years old, and for a long time, I wanted to be a high school orchestra conductor. When I was seventeen, I changed my mind and decided I wanted to be a doctor instead. I went to Memorial University of Newfoundland to get a B.Sc., but I also played in the Music School orchestra. I started playing with the Detroit Medical Orchestra in their second season, and I’ve been with them ever since. Medical school is very demanding and tends to dominate my life, so it this orchestra is a welcome opportunity to set that aside for a few hours a week to use a different set of neurons for a while. I believe that our performances are a respite for the community of Detroit as well, and we work hard to make sure those performances are vitalizing to our audience.
I began playing the violin at the age of seven when a friend taught me how to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on her violin. Since then, I have played in many ensembles and even traveled the world playing my violin with performance groups. Music remains a very important part of my life and it even led to me meeting my husband in the Michigan Pops Orchestra at the University of Michigan.
I joined Detroit Medical Orchestra because I can't imagine life without being able to make music - it has always been a joy and comfort for me to part of a musical community. DMO is a truly unique organization that gathers professionals in different stages of their career and from a myriad of medical fields. I'm honored that I get to continue doing so with my fellow med students as well as with other physicians and Wayne State colleagues.
Currently, I am a third year medical student at Wayne State University School of Medicine. My main interests professionally are in surgery and women’s health. After medical school, I will continue my medical career with the United States Navy as a physician and officer.
I was first exposed to music when I started playing the piano when I was 5 years old. I had seen an older friend in a recital, went home, and fiddled with a small keyboard until I had learned "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Eventually I began competing in the state and national level with the American Guild of Music and the Michigan Music Association.
As much as I loved the piano, I felt the need to supplement it somehow; I felt the urge to play music in a group setting, and what more iconic instrument to do that than be a part of the sea of violins in an orchestra? So, I started to play the violin at the age of 10, somewhat later than my peers.
With prior knowledge of the piano, however, I was soon able to participate in Michigan youth orchestras like the Oakland Youth Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra throughout middle and high school. I had a brief hiatus from the violin during my undergraduate studies, but once I came to medical school and heard about the DMO, I was excited to pick up music again!
What I love most about playing in the orchestra? No matter how much stress I have when I arrive at rehearsal, that part of my mind turns off once we start playing and is replaced by a state of serenity.
Professor and Chair of Urology at Wayne State University
Chief of Urology at Karmanos Cancer Institute
I come from an extended family of musicians, and my two teenage boys play violin. I’ve played in many orchestras over the years, including medical orchestras in other cities. I love getting to know good music and therefore I’m in the DMO more for the rehearsals than for the actual concert. The concert is just the “icing on the cake.”
I am currently the principal chair of our viola section and I have
been playing the viola for 19 years. There is nothing more exciting
than coming to rehearsal every Sunday, with other musicians and
friends, to make music. When I am not rehearsing with the DMO you can
find me on the pediatric floors at Children's Hospital of Michigan in
downtown Detroit. I will be starting the third year of my pediatric
residency this summer with plans to pursue a Allergy and Immunology
Fellowship once I graduate. Pediatrics is a lot like our orchestra,
it requires all different players, passion, knowledge and skill in
order to provide the best type of care for our patients and audience.
When it comes to pediatrics there is nothing that makes me happier
than to see the smile on our patient's faces and their families when
we have made a difference.
I have lived in Michigan all my life and Detroit has become a second
home to me during my medical school career and residency. A few of my
favorite things to do downtown are: Catch a Tiger's Game at Comerica
Park, meet up friends for Happy Hour and Burgers at Roast and lastly
witness some of the most amazing performances at Orchestra Hall with
the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and their guest musicians.
The Detroit Medical Orchestra started out as a conversation between
concertmaster Michelle Ubels, M.D. and I years ago in a WSU-SOM
Aesculapians Meet and Greet event. What started out as a conversation
has turned into years of passion, amazing music and long lasting
One of my earliest memories of enjoying music is dancing with my sister while my dad played goofy songs on his trumpet. I was about 6 years old at the time and it was soon after that I began piano lessons. My mom took lessons as well and we performed duets together at our piano recitals. I joined the band as a flutist in 5th grade and continued to play in school and at my home-town church through my freshman year of college. As I got further into my pre-medical studies, I stopped playing flute altogether.
After completing my medical training, I returned to Detroit in 2005. As I settled into my life as a hospital pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, I realized how much I missed classical music and the flute.
After 14 years, I picked up my flute once again and started private lessons. It was right at this time that I received an email from Michelle Ubels, founder of the Detroit Medical Orchestra, about an orchestra she was starting for those in the Detroit medical community. I was delighted to join and have truly enjoyed playing extraordinary music and working hard to improve my skills on the flute. Most of all, I am thrilled to have met a diverse group of fellow musician friends who love music and the city of Detroit.
After working abroad at the Centre Hospital Universitaire de Butare, Rwanda, Dr. Ball returned back to Detroit, MI and joins the board again.
For over 45 years the violin has played an integral role in my life. I started playing at 9 years old since my father was a violinist. As a teen-ager I wore a Milwaukee brace for scoliosis and was unable to participate in sports, but was still able to play by hooking the violin onto the brace . I played in the Detroit Youth Symphony in the early 1970's where a young bassoonist assigned to us by the symphony by the name of Paul Ganson urged us to donate our allowances to save an old auditorium named Orchestra Hall. The only residents of Orchestra Hall at the time unfortunately were the homeless staying in a delapidated structure.
As a high school student and as an adult I've played in several community orchestras and have played in assorted Michigan landmarks including many old churches and the old JL Hudson building , Hill Auditorium and Orchestra Hall . When interviewing for Wayne State Medical school I was fortunate that the interviewer was knowledgeable about classical music and that is what we talked about. I am an alumni of Wayne State University Medical School Class of 1984.
When I was chief resident in Internal Medicine at Sinai Hospital of Detroit the program director decided that residents needed to demonstrate cultural expertise. I played the violin and the residents still showed up the next day. When I see people from those years they always ask if I still play.
In my Mid 40's I started to play again and had the privilege of taking lessons from Mr. James Waring. When Dr. Cher called saying there was an orchestra at Wayne State composed of med students I jumped at the chance. The notes look more blurry and neck is defintely less flexible, but music nurtures the soul in a unique way. That coupled with the fact I get to interact with young people just starting their professional life has been a distinct privilege.
Former Board Member
Attorney since 1992 and owner of The Hirsch Law Firm, PLLC. Part of our practice includes representing physicians and their offices in contract negotiation, business disputes and collections, in addition to our personal injury practice.
Musically, I have played cello since age 9. I was the Traub Music Scholarship Winner, have studied with Grace Konopka, Jerome Jelinek and David Levine. I stopped playing for about 11 years when my oldest daughter was born. I have been a member of numerous community orchestras throughout Michigan and am currently the principal cellist of the Royal Oak Symphony Orchestra.
I am married with three beautiful daughters and live in Huntington Woods, MI.
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