Dr Clare Skinner works in the Emergency Department of Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital. She also plays the oboe and once a year joins around 60 other medicos from around the state to indulge their passion for music, performing as the NSW Doctors’ Orchestra. The proceeds go to the charities related to music and medicine. She tells us about this year’s performance, given in May.
“The NSW Doctors Orchestra took the stage of the Verbrugghen Hall on May 29th. The auditorium was packed, despite the wild and wintry weather, and the crowd were dazzled by Sandy Sin on Marimba, performing Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saens, and Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs). The orchestra completed the program with Enek by Leo Weiner Panaszos, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6, Pastorale.
The works performed by Sandy Sin were originally written for solo violin, and initially, the orchestra was sceptical about the transcription for marimba. The Saint- Saens is especially well known and loved by members of the string section, but they were soon won over by the virtuosity and athleticism displayed by Sandy Sin. The eerie, haunting characters of both works translated well, and the brighter nature of the solo instrument added a sense of playfulness to the drama of the Gypsy Airs. The orchestra, even the double basses, were universally relieved that they had chosen to play easier and more mobile instruments than Sandy Sin.
It is a pleasure to be a part of the NSW Doctors’ Orchestra, which strikes just the right balance between serious music and fun. As doctors, it is lovely to have the chance to interrupt our heavy clinical responsibilities twice a year and let the more creative side of our brains do the work. It is a privilege to be able to do it for a good cause, through our relationship with the Sydney Eisteddfodd and the charities we support.
This year, Sydney will host the Australian Doctors’ Orchestra, which performs at 2pm on Sunday 18th September. Members of the NSW Doctors’ Orchestra are eagerly practicing, and waiting to hear whether they have been successful in their applications to play with the national orchestra. Look out for further details of the concert.”