The vocal ensemble Voces Novae directed by Susan Swaney presents “Sweet Music of Healing” in Wegmiller auditorium at IU Health Bloomington Hospital, Friday Jan 20 at 5:30. Swaney says that the group wanted to look at healing through music inspired by the way long time member Dr. Betsy Sabga lived her life.
“When Betsy died so suddenly this last May, we were trying to work through our loss and our grief and we had many ideas about how to honor her, but the one we all agreed on was to do a program in her honor. ‘Healing’ was one of the many ideas we came up with, and it’s a program I hope for the people at the hospital and the community, because they’ve lost a couple of their own with Betsy and Dr. Slaughter. I think its really hard for members of the medical community when they lose one of their own, especially in an untimely way.”
Dr. Sabga was very much involved in medicine and the medical community, with her own practice as an ob/gyn, along with regular work for Volunteers in Medicine and as a Red Cross volunteer. She was a singer and a percussionist. She played drums with an ensemble at Beth Shalom, and she also was the drummer for the rock band “Don’t Call Me Betty!” She held forth on the drums with the band at a great fiftieth birthday party just months before her death.
“It was pretty exciting. She was magnificent on the drums, and I must say that the heavenly choir has gotten a magnificent alto,” said Swaney. “’Sweet Music of Healing’ is on the topic of healing and wholeness. The word ‘heal’ comes from the old English word ‘whole,’ so we’re looking at wholeness and how it applies to healing. The music is sweet. It’s all very pretty, with music of John Wilbye and Craig Heller Johnson. They are very pretty pieces, but they are about pain and doubt. And we kind of start their and work toward ‘There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole…’ And we talk about those various balms with music of Grieg, Moe, Hobby, Ticheli and a beautiful piece by Gabe Lubell, a member of the choir for flute quartet.”
“It’s a lovely program, and there are just a few short poetic readings which will be read by Betsy’s medical partners and some people from the hospital. We’re just looking at healing in a way that was inspired by the way Betsy lived her life.”