Duquesne Chamber Orchestra Performs at Hillman Cancer Center

the Duquesne Chamber Orchestra performs at the Hillman Cancer Center.On Friday, October 26, the Duquesne Chamber Orchestra (DCO) performed a run-out concert for patients and visitors at the Hillman Cancer Center in the Shadyshide neighborhood of Pittsburgh. This performance, which included Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 and Elgar's Serenade for Strings, marks the second time in its two-year existence that the ensemble has performed in that space, and likely not the last.

Daniel Meyer, Director of Orchestral Activities at the Mary Pappert School of Music actively seeks performance opportunities like this for DCO, rather than in more traditional concert settings. "This performance was indeed a unique and poignant opportunity for me and for our musicians. We did not actually see the majority of our audience, as they were undergoing chemotherapy and other cancer treatments while we performed for them in the lobby of the Hillman Center, but as evidenced by the doctors and nurses who went out of their way to come and thank us, we knew that our music-making had a deep and lasting impact on the patients," said Meyer. "Our music wafted from the lobby into the various treatment rooms throughout the hospital, giving the patients a small glimpse of the joy and beauty that makes Elgar and Beethoven's music so special to us."

The Hillman Cancer Center recognizes the value in that joy and beauty, as well, as is evidenced by the words of Leah Wallace (BSN, RN, OCN). "Your students are talented beyond words. We were privileged to have the chance to listen to a class act of music fill our halls from (literally) the floor to the ceiling. I have never seen people stop in their tracks upon entering the Hillman to enjoy a small minute of their busy, sometimes scary day. I consider this a huge compliment to you and your orchestra."

In addition to being a liaison with DCO for these types of performances, Wallace runs a Musician Volunteer Program, whose mission it is to bring musically-inclined volunteers to provide cheer and comfort to patients and their families to the Cancer Center. For more information about how to become a volunteer, please visit http://hillman.upmc.com/difference/supporting/volunteer and select "UPMC Hillman Cancer Center" on the application.

DCO is a subset of the full Duquesne Symphony Orchestra, both of which fall under the baton of Meyer and utilize many of the same players. The group is very versatile, from its ability to learn a great deal of repertoire specific to the chamber orchestra in a very short time period to its sheer portability. Performing in mainly run-out concerts similar to the Hillman Cancer Center performance, DCO made its debut performance as the Opera Workshop's pit orchestra in last year's production of Alexander's Feast. The small size of the ensemble (30 members at max instrumentation) lends it to have the potential for a much larger community presence than its larger counterpart, and, in the coming years, DCO aims to function as a recruitment ensemble, travelling to local high schools and performing for students.

For more information on when and where DCO and all of the other Mary Pappert School of Music ensembles will be performing, please visit duq.edu/MusicEvents.


Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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