This summer, the Clinical Research Center added another feature
to its repertoire of art programs — one that benefits employees
as well as patients. The Summer Concert Series at the Oasis was
launched on June 30 with a performance by a jazz-gospel a cappella group,
which was followed by a wide variety of musical acts each Thursday
from noon to 1 p.m. in the first-floor atrium.
Employees, patients and visitors listened from their seats or simply
stopped for a few minutes before continuing on their path as performance
groups and individuals sang, danced and played instruments. Others
leaned over the railings on upper floors, surprised to hear the melody
in a usually quiet building.
|Ann Brewer, who works in the
NIH director’s office, plays classical piano selections
in the CRC Oasis.
When the Clinical Center art committee first envisioned a seasonal
concert series many years ago, it was limited by the lack of open
space in Bldg. 10. "In the old building, there were pockets of
public space," explains Larry Eldridge, senior advisor to the CC
chief operating officer and an art committee member. "With the
atrium in the new [CRC], we saw a great opportunity to add even
more life to the building — and to use the atrium for programs
beyond the normal business hours."
The idea soon became a reality with help from the Division of
Employee Services, ORS and Eurest dining services, which partnered
with the art program to bring the long-awaited concert series to
NIH. The series soon became a great collaborative effort, with
representation from several CC departments and offices including
facility management, rehabilitation medicine and networks and applications.
The goal was not only to "create a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere
for the patients and caregivers," explains Crystal Parmele of the
CC Office of Facilities Management, but also to give local artists
and NIH employees the opportunity to share their talents with the
NIH community. Of the six groups that performed for the summer
series, four included employees.
The series included performances from the ViBE, violinist Charles
Tolbert, Premier, the NIH Orchestra Ensemble, pianist Ann Brewer
and a group of young Irish musicians from the Sligo Hedge School
led by Karen Ashbrook. Each group and individual was warmly welcomed. "The
whole program has been very well received," says OFM employee Lillian
Fitzgerald. "I received comments from several employees who told
me that they had their office doors open and the music brightened
their day," Eldridge adds.
For the performers, the response was equally encouraging. Terence
Hope, who sings with the ViBE when he is not working at NIH as
a conference coordinator, says the experience was, "Excellent!
I think it really took people by surprise to hear music in the
building. For me it has been a great thing to volunteer and help
out, and to see how uplifting the music was for the children who
came and spoke with us."
Ann Brewer, who works in the NIH director's office, played classical
piano selections on July 28. "The biggest reward [of performing]," says
Brewer, "was when I was walking down the hill after my performance
and someone was knocking on a window from the CC. Once they got
my attention, I looked up and saw that it was a patient and family
cheering me. That made it worth the world to me."
The concert series is expected to resume in September. If you
or someone you know is interested in performing, contact Parmele
at (301) 496-2862.