Stethoscope on Sheet Music

MCO and AIHM to promote quality of life for thousands more Manitoban healthcare patients

“ONE GOOD THING about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain,” sang Bob Marley.

Songwriters may take poetic licence, especially where descriptions of their own powers are concerned, but there’s more than a little truth to Marley’s statement. Contemporary studies demonstrate music’s potential to ward off depression and lower stress-related hormones such as cortisol. This is a rather clinical way of expressing what the Ancients already recognized as music’s special power to bring “charm and gaiety to life” (Plato).

More insightful perhaps are recent scientific discoveries that music may also improve blood flow and post-surgery outcomes and quite literally reduce pain.

It’s with such knowledge that Artists In Healthcare Manitoba (AIHM) is proud to expand its programming with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (MCO) beginning this spring. AIHM provides arts-centric healthcare programming in facilities across Manitoba, while the MCO is known as “Canada’s, tiny perfect chamber orchestra” (Toronto Star). We think it’s a special pairing.

Among those who will enjoy uplifting concerts through this collaboration are seniors in long-term care, patients and residents in hospitals and hospices, and mental health patients across thirteen Manitoba healthcare organizations. Funding for patient support arts programming is often outside of such organizations’ scope, and the MCO and AIHM are honoured to help fill this need through the support of Johnston Group and The Winnipeg Foundation. Musical styles performed will run the gamut from classical to pop—there will be something for everyone. A priority will be performing Indigenous music for residents of Selkirk Mental Health Centre, in accordance with the traditional emphasis in Indigenous culture on the need of music for healing.

Benefits of this program will extend beyond healthcare, helping to keep Manitoba musicians performing and connected to local audiences. Administrative costs will be kept exceptionally low, with 90% of the program’s budget going directly to participating musicians.

The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and Artists in Healthcare Manitoba thank both Johnston Group and The Winnipeg Foundation for their generous support of this collaborative program.