Chicago area medical professionals among orchestra’s Carnegie Hall virtual performance

The National Virtual Medical Orchestra (NVMO) consists of medical professionals from across the country.

SHARE Chicago area medical professionals among orchestra’s Carnegie Hall virtual performance
Screen_Shot_2020_12_15_at_1.58.58_PM.png

The National Virtual Medical Orchestra (NVMO), consists of medical professionals across the country — some of which work at Chicago area hospitals — playing various instruments.

National Virtual Medical Orchestra

A group of medical professionals, some of which are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic locally, aim to take the stage — sort of —at a world-renowned venue.

At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the National Virtual Medical Orchestra (NVMO), founded in May 2020 and consisting of medical professionals from across the country — some of which work at Chicago area hospitals — will be performing their final virtual concert of the year as part of “Live With Carnegie Hall: Music is Medicine.” The NVMO will be performing the Pas de Deux from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” You can stream for free at www.carnegiehall.com.

The group was formed in response to orchestras around the country shutting down their programming indefinitely due to the pandemic.

The orchestra, which includes about 75 members, rehearses individually during a two-week period, records their parts via smartphones and sends them to NVMO music director/conductor John Masko, who coordinates the recordings.

The medical professionals involved with the NVMO know all too well how important it is to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“As much of the classical music industry has shut down or reduced capacity this year, these amazing medical musicians have led the charge toward new ways of playing music,” said Masko in a statement. “The opportunity to perform with Carnegie Hall is a testament to our players’ devotion, even amid one of the most stressful years of their professional careers.”

The NVMO’s Chicago-area contingent echoes Masko’s sentiments.

“For us to present [at Carnegie Hall] is a dream come true for any musician, so I’m definitely excited; I’ve been sharing it with my friends and family and asking my co-workers to watch,” said Aasheeta Parikh, a violin-playing physician assistant with Naperville’s Edward-Elmhurst Health’s neurosciences program who is making her Carnegie Hall debut. “I’m really grateful for the group. It’s a good way to keep playing sometimes if you don’t have an event coming up, or a performance.”

Parikh, who also plays for the Northbrook Symphony, and studied violin at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at DePaul’s graduate school, saysshe’s one of the few who played professionally and entered the medical field afterward.

“Most of the people in the group are different,” said Parikh. “A lot of them are physicians or medical students. I don’t think a lot of other ones studied music in college as I did.”

Some of the instruments NVMO members play aren’t exactly pandemic-friendly.

Bettina Cheung, a Northwestern University medical student who plays the French horn, is happy to spread joy during a dark time even though she isn’t performing in Thursday’s event.

Bettina_Cheung_and_Michael_Wang_NVMO_Musicians.jpg

Bettina Cheung, a Northwestern University medical student (right), co-founded the Northwestern Medical Orchestra with Michael Wang (left).

Pete Yeh/Provided Photo

“Obviously right now with the pandemic, playing a wind instrument isn’t the safest thing to do together so I’m grateful for any chance we have to make music together and share it with other people,” said Cheung, the co-founder of the Northwestern Medical Orchestra. “I think now more than ever, everyone just wants a little spark of joy and making videos with the NVMO brought that in a regular fashion to a lot of medical workers, medical students, and the people that we share them with.”

The Latest
A man was found about 5:50 a.m. with multiple gunshot wounds inside a home in the 5300 block of West Van Buren Street .
Tatanina Kelly, 28, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of causing a child to be endangered.
J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek star as a small-town Illinois couple with a mysterious portal in the tool shed.
Travis Strickland caught the pending Illinois-record skipjack herring, in part because he knew what he had; plus the Stray Cast (hello, Warren Zevon).
The proposal calls for turning them into a shared archive center, but the properties’ owner, the federal government, wants the early 20th century high-rises wrecked.