DC Doctors Unwind on Stage

A group of D.C. doctors use music to treat themselves. Four doctors at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital unwind by playing in a band.

The leader of One Note Samba, Dr. Robert Bunning of MedStar NRH, specializes in helping arthritis patients.

“Well, I’m in joints by day and joints by night because I play a little piano in clubs at night,” he said.

To give an idea how good the band actually is, the guy on bongos is the original drummer from the Jefferson Airplane.

“We’re very good doctors but we’re musicians who just love playing,” Bunning said.

Neurologist Dr. Marc Schlosberg has played at Carnegie Hall.

“Music is a tough career,” he said. “I had a friend who’s now playing in the San Francisco Symphony, and we knew each other when we were in high school, and I remember way back then when I was 17 and when I was 18 and I said, ‘Well I’m probably going to go to medical school,’ and he said, ‘You’re taking the easy way out.’”

Rehab specialist Dr. John Aseff noted there’s a healing component to music.

“Well there’s no question that sound and touch are important because they trigger emotional responses,” he said. “Sometimes responses that people can’t articulate.”

The band started out playing hospital benefits from time to time but now plays about once a month at restaurants and nightclubs — and they draw a crowd.

But none of them plans to give up their day jobs.

“I probably won’t be injecting joints at age 80,” Bunning said, “but I bet I’ll be playing the piano, still.”

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