Tuesday, Jun 22, 2021
Videos feature Westminster Choir College student performances
by Anne Sears
The connection between music and health has been studied and well documented by scientists and musicians for many years. Westminster’s Center for Community Engagement and Critical Pedagogy, directed by Frank Abrahams, has developed a program, Music for Healing, that is bringing that concept to patients in two local medical centers: Capital Health and Penn Medicine/Princeton Health.
Music for Healing is a collection of three videos featuring performances by Westminster Choir College students. Each presents music designed to promote feelings of well-being and comfort for patients while they are hospitalized. One video features five student-managed a cappella groups: Noted A Cappella, Soulfege A Cappella, Show Choir, Outreach Choir and The Deaftones A Cappella performing popular and seasonal songs.
Another video is The Extraordinarily Average Chicken, an original musical with book by Devon Barnes, music by Leigh Huber, Nick Scafuto and Kelly Zuzic, music production by Sam Scheibe and graphic images by Andy Huber. The students, most of whom are music education majors, wrote the musical as an assignment to address social and emotional learning during these trying times. While it was written for children, the video’s theme is a universal one that can be enjoyed by all ages.
The third video features the senior piano recital by Samuel Scheibe, in which he’s joined by faculty member James Goldsworthy. The program includes works by Debussy, Beethoven, Brahms and Poulenc.
Music for Healing videos are currently on a television channel available to patients in both medical centers. Patients are notified about these musical options as part of the admission process.
Elizabeth Upham, director of patient experience at Capital Health, says about the program, “Music is healing and we appreciate having the opportunity to share such wonderful performances with our patients and guests. We look forward to future additions created by such talented students at the Westminster Choir College of Rider University.”
Nearly 100 students participated in this project. “Students made all of the choral arrangements and the audio and video engineering," says Frank Abrahams. "The quality was consistently outstanding and represented some of the best of what we do.”