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The halls of the UCF College of Medicine are usually bustling with students, faculty and students, but on December 20, that sound was replaced with Christmas tunes thanks to the college’s first annual “Music Under the Stars” concert in the Lewis Auditorium.
The event was the brainchild of first-year medical student Michael Metzner, who is known for his love of music and medicine. “It’s just been a pretty amazing experience, being medical students and having such little amount of time, we could do something so great together,” Metzner said. He and about two dozen fellow students, faculty and staff had three weeks to practice for the event, working around each other’s very busy schedules. The result was a night of diverse talent that included song, dance and the spoken word.
First-year student Farah Dosani offered a bit of comic relief, with a spirited essay about the rigors of medical school. Visual arts were also on display, with a painting titled “Arts in Medicine” by first-year students Romela Petrosyan and Annabel Pino.
Fourth-year student William Kang, a concern violinist before he entered medical school, wowed the audience with his musical skills and even shared the history of song he chose, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
It wasn’t just students who took the stage Thursday night. Dr. Juan Cendan performed classic guitar and College of Medicine Nurse Practitioner Kristina Grabnickas performed two pieces on the piano, dedicating them to her mother, who was in the audience. The celebration was also a family affair as Robyn Dean, the wife of first-year student Michael Dean, put on an emotional performance of “Ave Maria.”
The evening ended with a touching tribute to America’s military, as all the performers sang “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” to recognize military personnel who are serving this holiday season.
Arts and medicine does not end with the holiday concert. Students at the college have created an Arts in Medicine Club that hopes to start sending its members to play for children at hospitals throughout Central Florida next year. And Metzner’s Focused Individualized Research Experience (FIRE) project is examining whether participation in musical activities can reduce stress hormone levels of patients being treated for sickle-cell anemia at Nemours Children’s Hospital at medical city.