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Professor Plays Piano in Hospital Lobby

Professor Andrew M. Flescher plays tunes for patients and visitors in the Hospital lobby (photo by Sam Levitan).

Twice each month, patients at Stony Brook University Hospital, along with visitors and staff, can enjoy live piano music in the lobby. Pianist Andrew M. Flescher, Associate Professor of Religion, Ethics, and Medical Humanities, bangs out popular rock, pop, show tunes, and other songs upon request. The event, considered an expression of the healing arts, is sponsored by The Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University in conjunction with Patient and Family Centered Care. Flescher performs on the first and third Thursdays of each month.

“The piano playing is for the patients and provides them with a wonderful way to get away for a while, smile, and feel good through the powerful and shared experience of music,” said Flescher, also Assistant Director of The Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics. “For me playing is something I thoroughly enjoy.”

On July 15 Flescher played his first lobby concert. An accomplished cellist, he has also played piano for 20 years. Flescher played more than 25 tunes, featuring songs most people could connect with, such as popular hits by The Beatles and Elton John. For part of the musical session, Flescher was joined by singer Jamie Romeiser from the Department of Preventive Medicine. Romeiser will continue to accompany him at future events.

Flescher drew many passers-by, from hospital staff to visitors and patrons from the lobby Starbucks. The crowd continued to build throughout his one hour plus of playing. He says as long as people continue to enjoy the live music, he will keep playing.

The Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics considers music as a central component of the healing arts. The University-wide program is devoted to investigating and teaching the three thematic components reflected in its name.

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