DSO aids with the ‘art of healing’ at Oakwood

DEARBORN — Oakwood Healthcare System and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra have partnered the past year to deliver music directly to its patients and visitors, which has become a key component to the system’s overall environment of healing at its acute care sites and the Oakwood Common Retirement Community.

In recognition of National Hospital Week (May 11 to 17), Oakwood will host small ensemble performances by DSO musicians at Oakwood Hospital-Dearborn from noon to 1 p.m. May 13, open to the public. 

Beginning last year through its Arts for the Spirit Program, Oakwood launched a multifaceted partnership with the DSO to provide enriching musical experiences for patients, visitors and employees throughout its system. Since its creation in 2006, Oakwood AFTS has aimed to provide an environment of healing and comfort to Oakwood patients, visitors and staff through the arts system-wide, and its partnership with the DSO has added a unique dynamic to that effort.

“We strongly believe that music and art are key components to creating a comprehensive healing environment and we are extremely fortunate to have the DSO contribute to our expanding efforts in this area,” said Kelly Smith, senior vice president, Oakwood Healthcare, and division president, Oakwood Hospital-Dearborn. “This partnership offers a powerful and unique experience for our employees, the surrounding community, but most importantly our patients — another strong example of our philosophy of every patient, every time.”

The DSO has performed at several Oakwood facilities including Oakwood Common Retirement Community, which has generated enthusiasm as a result of the interactive performances.

“Our performances at Oakwood are especially meaningful because we are reaching people who really benefit from the special properties that music brings to our lives,” said Kenneth Thompkins, DSO principal trombone. “To some people it will be a brief respite on a busy day and for others it may offer a bit of tranquility during a stressful time.”

Pleased with the responses, Oakwood officials recently announced additional DSO performances — to be announced — throughout 2014.

“This partnership has proved invaluable to our efforts to create an all-encompassing environment of care,” said Judith McNeeley, manager of Public Relations for Oakwood Healthcare. “We know that music and art play a vital role in healing and we’re extremely grateful for the opportunity to partner with such a renowned cultural organization.”

The DSO partnership adds to the Oakwood AFTS growing program which already includes 12 public art galleries in hospitals throughout the Oakwood system as well as a partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts that delivers a first-of-its-kind 18-minute virtual tour of select DIA galleries through patient televisions.

For more information about DSO performances and the Oakwood AFTS program, go to www.oakwood.org.