Artists head to hospital as music cures

April 17, 2016 - 09:00

A project called “Bringing music to hospitals” has promoted music as a tool to reduce hospital patients’ pain and relieve stress among medical staff.

Healing magic: In addition to musical performances, the programme also includes magic shows and comedy acts with the goal of bringing smiles and helping patients overcome their pain and challenges. VNS Photo Minh Thu
Viet Nam News -

A great song should lift your heart, warm your soul and make you feel good. Aware of this fact, artists have joined hands to organise musical performances at hospitals.

Launched in 2011, the project, “Bringing music to hospitals”, aims to promote music as a tool to reduce patients’ pain and relieve stress among medical staff.

The programme also includes a talk show, magic show and comedy acts with the same aim: to bring smiles and offer patients a reprieve from their difficulties and pain.

Comedian Trà My spent four years taking care of her husband, a cancer patient. That’s why she sympathised with the pain and anxiety felt by patients and their families. My is one of the most enthusiastic artists who perform at hospitals.

“When the organiser invites me, I always try to participate even if I have to cancel other work,” said My.

“The programme is very meaningful in that it brings joy to patients and medical staff, a special audience who is suffering pain and pressure.”

For bedridden patients who can’t attend the show, the artists come to their rooms and entertain them.

“Without musical instruments or an orchestra, we still sing, and our sincerity touches patients’ hearts,” My said.

She witnessed a moving experience at the National Hospital of Traditional Medicine in Hà Nội involving an old man who was bed-ridden and had nearly lost his ability to speak. When the artists came to his room, the man surprised everyone by asking the singer to perform his favourite song. The singer didn’t know it by heart, but a nurse did, so they sang it together.

“That day all the doctors acknowledged the power of music,” My said.

My and her partners, including Vượng Râu, Chiến Thắng and Xuân Bắc, bring smiles and cheer to patients and staff through comedy. Visiting each hospital, they try to perform a play in which the content is suitable to the hospital’s function and patient’s situation.

“We expect the audience may find a part of them in our shows, then they can laugh at even bad situations and the trouble becomes easier,” My said. 

During a show at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in March, My played the role of a pregnant woman and Vượng Râu played a clumsy husband bringing his wife to the hospital to give birth.  

The project is also expected to serve as a bridge between the community and the health sector. It raises funds and support from organisations and communities.

All artists participating in the shows forego payment except for a small allowance for transportation and meals.

Singer Việt Tú said sometimes people ask him if he earns a lot from the shows because he has performed at the hospitals so many times.

“The question sounds indecent to me,” he said.

“We all know that it’s a charitable project so the artists never ask the organiser for money. The allowance is often put into the donation box as we want to contribute to the project.”

Singer Thái Thùy Linh, who initiated the project, said they don’t consider it performing. Instead, they bring music to hospitals in exchange for rare smiles.

“The programme has been a useful treatment for patients, their relatives and doctors,” she said.

"During the programme, we have seen many doctors put money in our donation box for their patients. People sitting in wheelchairs, walking on crutches and hooked up to intravenous drips also donate small amounts. They want to help people who are in worse conditions than them.”

At the end of the programme, the organiser donates all the money collected to underprivileged inpatients at the hospital.

“Some patients cried when they came to the stage to collect money donated by people in the same miserable situations. I believe they were tears of joy, sympathy and sharing," said Linh.

Dương Thị Minh Thu, head of the Social Work Department under the National Hospital of Children, said the department was founded in 2008. At that time singer Linh visited the hospital many times and worked with doctors to support poor patients.

When the “bringing music to hospital” programme was initiated, she convinced many more artists to come and entertain the patients.

“Working at the hospital, we witness many heartbreaking situations. Parents bring their children with serious illnesses; many of them come from remote areas and are very poor,” said Thu.

“The collection partly helps reduce the difficulty of the patients,” Thu said. “We are very moved as the singers perform and cry with our patients. This project is really humanitarian and should be spread elsewhere.”

Since its inauguration, the project has organised 150 concerts at hospitals across the country. What started as a mere idea has now turned into a successful programme, with more and more artists participating and performing for free, from leading pop stars like Mỹ Linh, Mỹ Lệ and Uyên Linh, to young talents such as Vũ Hương Giang, who recently became famous for her performances of traditional music at Việt Nam’s Got Talent this year.

The Ministry of Health, the Việt Nam Union of Youth and enterprises have also supported the project.

There are four shows organised in April to celebrate South Việt Nam Liberation Day. The schedule can be viewed on the programme’s Facebook page.

This year, the organiser will hold 20 shows in Hà Nội, 10 in HCM City and nine in provinces across the country such as Lâm Đồng, Long An, Đồng Tháp, An Giang and Yên Bái.

A gala night will be organised in December to mark the project’s five-year anniversary. On that night, a singing contest called “Just the Two of Us” will be held for the second time, with the participation of singer and doctor duos. VNS

Power of music: A singer exchanges with a young patient during a show as part of the "Bringing music to hospitals" project. VNS Photo Minh Thu