Group takes orchestral music to kids in hospital

Raymond Morrison (6) with WASO members Liam O'Malley and Joshua Davis.        Picture: Andrew Ritchie   d445393
Raymond Morrison (6) with WASO members Liam O'Malley and Joshua Davis.        Picture: Andrew Ritchie d445393

MUSIC played to hospital patients could be the spark that ignites a lifelong passion, says School of Special Needs, Medical and Mental Health (SSNMMH) teacher Maureen Elphick.

Ms Elphick, who teaches kids during their hospital stays, said music was an important component of a balanced school curriculum.

“Research has shown that those who learn an instrument tend to have improved academic achievement enhancing their test scores, attitudes, social skills, critical and creative thinking,” she said.

“It is therefore no coincidence that that the SSNMMH has partnered with WA Symphony Orchestra (WASO) to deliver the Hospital Orchestral Program.”

For seven years, WASO musicians have visited children in Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to play music in the wards, deliver interactive workshops and ensemble performances.

“Sometimes the days are quite long and this gives a new opportunity – some of the older kids even have a go on the instruments,” Ms Elphick said.

“For many, it brings joy and allows them to forget why they are in hospital, if only for a short time.”

WASO trombonist Liam |O’Malley said travelling around Perth to perform gave many children the chance to see orchestral instruments up close.

“It’s a logistical nightmare to get a full orchestra around, so we usually take a small group of people,” he said.

WASO Community Engagement manager Cassandra Lake said the program was self-funded with assistance from program partnerships. “Our plan is to continue to run the program when the Hospital Schools Services relocate to the new Perth Children’s Hospital next year and to increase out visits from six to eight per year,” she said,

“We will continue to finish the year with our Christmas concert, which is always great fun and full of joy.”

An ensemble of at least 12 WASO musicians and 16 chorus singers will perform a mix of traditional and contemporary Christmas carols at the Telethon Theatre on December 8.