Weekly concert performances for patients at NUH wards as music programme turns one

Flutist Sin Jin How and violinist Meah Tze Chuan perform classical tunes in the National University Hospital on April 6, 2016.
Flutist Sin Jin How and violinist Meah Tze Chuan perform classical tunes in the National University Hospital on April 6, 2016.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - The National University Hospital (NUH) will organise weekly music performances in its wards starting from Wednesday (April 6), up from once a month previously under the hospital's music programme.

This was announced on Wednesday as the hospital's Musical Rendezvous programme marked its first anniversary with a public concert in the afternoon.

The concert, which included songs from Disney movies, was held at the NUH lobby and included performances from jazz musician Jeremy Monteiro and Chinese music group The Ark.

Under Musical Rendezvous, which started in April 2015, monthly instrumental and vocal performances are held for NUH's ward patients. They are performed by musicians selected by local production company, Sing'theatre.

Following positive feedback on the programme, NUH decided to increase the frequency of the concerts.

The programme's songs are selected by the musicians based on the general profile of the patients at the wards visited. The current repertoire includes folk, classical and pop tunes, including K-pop and Mandopop songs, such as Yiruma's Kiss The Rain and Eric Moo's Kopi-O.

Ms Janet Liow, 24, a nurse at ward 58 in NUH, said that the music programme is very beneficial for "our patients as they can sometimes request songs and it reminds them of good times".

Patient Esther Lee, 46, said the performances "inject life into the ward and make it much more interesting".

For the musicians involved, the experience can be an emotional one.

Said flautist Sin Jin How, 36, who has been moved to tears while playing: "Performing in this setting always reminds me of how fragile life is."

Mr Sin, who has been with the programme since its inception, added that he tries to play tunes that he thinks the patients at the ward will enjoy and does his best to accommodate song requests.

Sing'theatre's artistic director Nathalie Ribette, 52, said that the inspiration for NUH's music programme came from her homeland, France, where music festivals have many free performances for the public.

"Just because these patients are in the hospital, it doesn't mean that they can't listen to music. We line up these events to allow them to enjoy their favourite tunes because it can get very lonely in their environment," said Ms Ribette.

She added that Sing'theatre is in talks with other hospitals to bring performances to their wards as well.