Andreu Gabarrós is the head of the Neurosurgery Service at Bellvitge University Hospital. But he also has a rock band, Dorigen. And with this group, the neurosurgeon has composed 10 songs, each of them dedicated to one of his brain tumour patients with whom he share the passion for music. He further invited them to record these songs together. The aim was, on the one hand, to recognise the doctor-patient collaboration that already takes place in the operating theatre (as they are awake during the operation). And on the other hand, to help patients to rehabilitate their language.
The project has materialised in “La simfonia dels herois” (“the symphony of heroes”): an album, a documentary and a presentation concert, to be held on Thursday 11 May at 8 p.m. at the Teatre Joventut in Hospitalet de Llobregat.
The PRBB choir, together with the Cor Gregal from Lluïsos de Gràcia, will be in charge of supporting this concert. The instrumental part will be provided by the Orquestra from the Col·legi de Metges de Barcelona.
All of them – and the patients themselves, the protagonists of a story of struggle and overcoming of a brain tumour – will share the stage with 9 renowned Catalan artists who will sing with them or sponsor some of the songs. Ramon Mirabet, Manu Guix, Marina Rossell, Gerard Quintana, Estopa and Mago Pop will take part in the concert in an event that will be hosted by Jordi Hurtado.
Tickets for the concert are priced at 22€, and the proceeds will go to research into brain tumours.
You can also make a one-off donation to the project here.
We spoke to Òscar Salvador Medina, director of the PRBB choir, about what it means to be part of this unique experience.
How did the PRBB choir come to be part of this project?
The project came through a neurosurgeon friend of min, an excellent pianist with whom I share a passion for music, and who works with Dr. Andreu Gabarrós – the composer of the songs and the architect of the whole initiative.
They needed a choir to do the vocal parts of at least four of the ten songs they will play with their band. One of these songs is the “Simfonia dels Herois“, which is the piece that gives its name to the concert. They explained to me the cause to which the money collected from the concert will be donated, I listened to the songs, which captivated me from the first moment, and it was all so motivating that in a few hours I had already organised the agenda and arranged the choirs and the necessary material to start working.
We will be singing with musicians who have recovered or are recovering from a brain tumour. Most of them are instrumentalists, but some will be singing as well. On the day of the final rehearsal we’ll see how we all coordinate, but I’m sure it will go very well, not least because there are some very talented people behind the project.
What is so special about this concert?
The PRBB choir, in its 15 years doing music, has always participated in solidarity projects whenever it has had the opportunity: small concerts in the Hospital del Mar that we do almost annually in different areas of the hospital such as paediatrics, psychiatry… or for example this last year we have done a couple of concerts against hunger organised in the Sagrada Familia neighbourhood.
On this occasion we are particularly excited for two reasons. Firstly, because it is an initiative that was born from neurologists from the Hospital de Bellvitge, leaders in medical research, who are also our travelling companions, as the choir is and has been made up of scientists from the different PRBB centres: the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), the Department of Medicine and Life Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University (MELIS-UPF), the Pascual Maragall Foundation, the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE: CSIC-UPF). All of them, each within its own specific area, are working on research to provide solutions to multiple diseases, including cancer.
And personally, the second reason why I am especially excited to participate, albeit from a poetic point of view, is because it is a tribute to the professionals in medicine and research in general with a concert that closes a circle. A circle that shows the connecting power of music.
To create music, or to reproduce it, we have to connect neurons, connect cerebral hemispheres, uniting our procedural part with our intuitive and creative part. We go from deciphering notes, rhythms and harmonies to evoking feelings, sensations and emotions. These emotions connect people, musicians with each other and with the audience. Also with the composer, even if he or she is not there. Music can make us feel what they felt (with their neurons). So it can connect times, centuries, some finite thing with the infinite…
Closing the circle, in this concert the PRBB choir will do our bit to make visible the work of the doctors of the Hospital de Bellvitge who also help to “connect the neurons” of the patients who have been temporarily disabled by the disease, and who in this concert will make music again thanks to the great work of these professionals. A necessary and comforting visibility, above all, that can make it clear that human beings not only have the capacity for destruction, as we are accustomed to seeing these days, but that there is still room for hope.
The PRBB choir, made up of members from all the centres in the Park, rehearses every Thursday from 6pm, is open to everyone and no musical knowledge is required. As Imma Ferrer, who has been a member of the choir for years, says, “it is a very good activity to relax and share moments with people from different centres“.
And you, would you like to join the PRBB choir? Here you have all the information, we hope to see you soon!