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Walk through the PMH lobby at lunchtime on any Wednesday and you'll hear something unusual for a hospital—the weekly Music in the Atrium program. This week, the program celebrates its 15th anniversary. It was established with funding provided by the Tauba & Solomon Family Foundation and initially produced by Jackie Rae & Patrician McKinnon Rae.
"The fact that this program has continued for 15 years really says something about how beneficial it is," says Tauba Spiro. "Something magical happens to the atmosphere in the hospital; people really feel that the hospital changes."
Patients and families are invited to join the PMH community for this week's performance with Mark Cassius and David Warrack. Cassius is best known for his work in the highly acclaimed a cappella group The Nylons. He joined the group as a baritone in 1997 and continued performing with them until 2005. He has also performed in numerous musicals, including Cats, Miss Saigon and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Warrack wears many musical hats—composer, lyricist, conductor, pianist, to name a few. He's been an enthusiastic supporter of Music in the Atrium from the beginning. Warrack has created or collaborated on more than 250 professionally produced musicals, including the first Canadian production of A Chorus Line. He is the founding conductor of the Canada Pops Orchestra and for the past nine seasons Warrack has been Music Director for Ross Petty's madcap Christmas pantomimes.
"We all look forward to Wednesdays when the music wafts upward, providing comfort, pleasure and stimulation to everyone in the building," says Dr. Gary Rodin, Head, Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care. "This program is a unique and valued part of our philosophy of care at PMH, which includes the emotional and spiritual well-being of patients, family and staff."