From the heart: A retired music professor and cardiologist are bringing joy to Edward Hospital
Don't be surprised if the next time you are at Edward Hospital you hear a jazzy tune coming from the direction of the heart hospital.
The founding conductor of NaperVoice, Philip Spencer, drops by Tuesdays and Thursdays to tickle the ivories of a grand piano tucked away in the lobby. On occasion, David Kim, a cardiologist at the Naperville hospital, stops to sing a few tunes.
"It's wonderful," said Norm Olsen, a Woodridge man who visits regularly to hear Spencer play and Kim sing. "I think this is great therapy."
As the music fills the lobby on a recent day, passersby smiled. Patients checking in at registration turned to watch the duo.
"What a joy to have this in the hospital," said Marian Strassner, a Crest Hill resident who was recently at Edward Hospital. "It just brightens my day."
Spencer, a retired college music professor, has been volunteering his time and musical talents at Edward Hospital since March 2022. Kim, who also plays the piano and has sung in church or school choirs since childhood, stopped by one day to tell Spencer how much he appreciated his piano playing and requested a song in a specific key.
"I thought, how unusual for someone to ask for a certain key," Spencer said. "And then he started to sing and I thought ... this guy is not just a cardiologist. He sings like a pro."
The duo, who typically perform together on Thursday mornings if Kim's schedule allows, never practice, don't have a song list and don't need sheet music. They have a few favorites including Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight" and Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are." They pull songs from Elton John, Stevie Wonder and other artists.
"We're just a couple of guys having fun in the middle of the day," Kim said of their sessions, dubbed "Music from the Heart" by the hospital's volunteer department.
The duo, who seem like old friends, respect the healing power of music and how it can brighten someone's day or put someone at ease. Studies have shown that music can help lower stress, decrease pain, increase focus and boost moods.
"To see the effect that music has on people right in that moment ... you know you're touching people," Spencer said.
When he first started volunteering, Spencer watched a video that talked about what people might think or feel when they come to the hospital.
"I never take for granted how the music is going to touch people," he said, "but I always feel like it's making a difference."