From a tap dancing troupe to a 50-piece orchestra, medical experts of all ages and career stages let their creative side shine at the recent Doctors Concert and Art Exhibition.  

Organised by the New Zealand Association of Artist Doctors and supported by MAS, this year’s event was held in Christchurch on May 13, combining a slew of top talent with an atmosphere of friendship and fun.  

For fifth year medical student Louis Newman, who is also on the organising committee, the event offers the chance to enjoy some downtime from the rigours of work and study.   

Louis Newman on bagpipes

“It’s great to have this creative outlet,” he says. “As med school students, we’re so deeply involved in our work, there’s always something to learn and we’re so focused on it all the time. This sort of thing helps you to step away and take a break for a bit. It’s also nice to be able to bring some joy to people at the same time.”  

While Louis took to the stage to show off his bagpiping skills, other highlights included an Indian dance performance, a jazz band, and comedic skits from the medical student show, ‘Clin Review.’ And in what’s become part of the tradition, the highly-anticipated ‘medical manpower’ finale once again left the audience in stitches.  

“I was somehow roped into that too,” Louis laughs. “I didn’t exactly have much of a choice!” 

From lighthearted gags to spine-tingling orchestral numbers, bringing people together is the name of the game for Dr John Gillies, vice president of the New Zealand Association of Artist Doctors.  

“We have people from all walks of medicine taking part, from students to senior practitioners,” he says. “It’s all about sharing in creativity, having a laugh and having fun - that’s the most important thing.”     

John’s been involved with the show for the entire 34 years it’s been running, and says the event is also a key opportunity for doctors to socialise and build meaningful connections.  

“Most doctors tend to communicate by email or phone but often never meet in person. It makes such a difference to meet face-to-face and experience working together in a group. It adds to the mutual respect and really strengthens future transactions. Ultimately, patients benefit from this as well.” 

Planning for each event takes roughly a year, and while all skill levels are invited to showcase their talents, John says every show uncovers some especially gifted performers.  

Doctors Concert

“This year we had an extraordinary orchestral performance of Finlandia; it was so incredible it almost brought tears to the eyes. One of the urologists is a superb clarinettist, and he blew us away. In the rock concert we had father and son and father and daughter combos, and that was really special. 

“These people are dedicated to medicine, but a show like this means they get to achieve in another area too, and having that balance is so important for overall wellbeing. Once people get a taste for it, they’re always keen to be involved again the next year.” 

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