Music is therapy for docs who rock
Free concert for Hamilton health-care workers on Sat., June 17
A healthy dose of music is just what the doctor ordered for a local rock band made up of physicians, including two specialists from Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS).
The five-member band includes Dr. Juan Guzman on bass guitar and Dr. Tim O’Shea on drums. Guzman is an internal medicine specialist at HHS Hamilton General Hospital and O’Shea is an infectious disease and internal medicine specialist at HHS Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre.
Rounding out the band are Dr. John You, an internal medicine specialist with Trillium Health Partners on guitar, Dr. Blair Leonard, a hematologist with the Niagara Health System on lead vocals, and Dr. Rick Loreto, a retired Stoney Creek consultant with a Ph.D. on guitar. They typically practise three times a month, and perform four concerts a year as fundraisers for various local causes.
“Playing music is a way to detach from the stresses and pressures of everyday life,” says O’Shea. “We’ve gone through a lot together since the band formed 10 years ago, including losing family members and the pandemic, and our band has been a great support network.”
Singing the praises of fellow health-care workers
On Saturday, June 17 they’re playing a free concert at Corktown Irish Pub in Hamilton in honour of local health-care workers. It’s open to the public, with a special invitation to health-care staff and doctors at Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.
“Health-care workers have been under a great deal of stress, especially since the start of the pandemic more than three years ago,” says Guzman.
“As doctors, we see first-hand how hard our teams work to care for our patients.” — Dr. Juan Guzman.
This concert is one way to say thank you and show our deep appreciation and admiration for these health-care workers.”
Founding band members include Leonard, the lead singer. Leonard was working a locum as an internist at HHS when the band, now called Martha Rocks, was formed in 2013. His friend O’Shea was enthusiastic to join as a drummer even though he had no experience beyond playing around with a drum kit that was stored in his basement by his father-in-law who no longer played.
“I thought, ‘Why not give it a try?’” says O’Shea, whose musical tastes lean towards the Tragically Hip, Our Lady Peace, the Killjoys and Canadian alternative rock group, Lowest of the Low.
“Lowest of the Low is my absolute favourite,” says O’Shea, admitting, “I’m pretty much a groupie.”
Guzman is from Colombia, South America but had little interest in Latin music growing up. Instead, his tastes leaned toward heavy metal. In high school. Guzman played bass in a heavy metal band, cranking out head-banging covers of hits by Metallica, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.
But once Guzman entered medical school, there was no more time for bands. So he was thrilled to hear about the doctors’ band through work, joining in 2014.
The docs play classic rock from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, covering bands including the Rolling Stones, Tragically Hip, Radiohead, AC/DC and Bryan Adams. They’ve also written 10 original songs which are included in their live performances. Health-care workers and members of the public are welcome to rock with these docs on June 17.
See them live!
Free concert: Honouring Hamilton health-care workers
When: Saturday, June 17, 8 p.m.
Where: Corktown Irish Pub, 175 Young Street, Hamilton