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INSIDE MUSIC: Your dentist or doctor may be a closet musician

By Rosemary Conte

originally published: 10/23/2017

INSIDE MUSIC: Your dentist or  doctor may be a closet musicianMany people hate to go to the dentist. I like going to the dentist. I look forward to my visits because my dentist, John Mamoun, is also a pianist and composer of 21st century “classical” music. There’s always a little time to chat about music---like his newest composition; his performance on YouTube; that he reads; or that I’ll be a guest singer in an upcoming concert and I hope he’ll come.

I recently had a root canal. I was wide awake and didn’t feel a thing. My dentist is gentle. And I like that, as musicians do, he works on weekends. It’s convenient for me.

During the root canal, I was focused on the sound of the drill. It was musical. The modulating tones sounded like a female singing. Would I have perceived the sound of the drill the same way with a non-musical dentist? Maybe not. The energy in the room would be different. Beyond the surface of our awareness we are influenced by the energy field of anyone around us.

I call my dentist Dr. John.  I’ve never asked him if he’s heard the work of the other Dr. John who’s one of my favorite artists and whose given name is Malcolm John Rebennack. I wonder if my Dr. John would like the other Dr. John’s New Orleans jazz/blues/gospel piano and singing style. I’m going to suggest he give a listen to Rebennack.

Recently, dentist Dr. John gave me his new book of custom arrangements of classical pieces and his own compositions. I gave him my CD, But Beautiful. He listened to my recording, likes it, and made some interesting comments about it. We are worlds apart in every way--- except that we both have musical souls. When musicians come together differences fall away. 

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In contrast, I gave my CD to my pulmonologist last year. He’s the man whose business is keeping his patients breathing. He doesn’t play music. And he never listened to my CD. He told me so. Since breathing is the foundation of singing, you’d think that even if he isn’t a music fan, he might be curious as to how his long-time patient who is prone to bronchial asthma breathes when she sings!

I’ve had associations with many musical NJ physicians. Where I live, in Monmouth County, there’s Maria Choy, my former neurologist and voice student; Robert Lillie, podiatrist and bass player; Richard Therkelsen, my chiropractor, guitarist, singer and occasional voice student; and Arthur Topilow, oncologist and jazz pianist, to name just a few.  I believe that as we go through life, we’ll wind up attracting birds of a feather, often at the most unexpected time, place, and circumstance---thanks to the universal law that similar energies find each other.

Physicians are smart. Good at math. And music is mathematical. By now, anyone who reads is aware that listening to and studying music in childhood develops the same parts of the brain used for math and science. That can begin in the womb when the fetus hears ambient musical sounds, and when parents sing to the baby in the belly. 

Don’t we all know musicians with day jobs in the computer science industry and who use the latest digital technology on their gigs? It’s no accident that many children who had music lessons growing up become computer engineers; physicians; and research scientists in every field while continuing to enjoy playing music.

Above is my dentist’s performance of his composition, “Rodeo Music,” followed by a video from the Symphony of Science below. The track “We Are All Connected” features the singing of  Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, and Bill Nye…I kid you not…with a little help from their friend AutoTune. The piece is a tribute to great minds of science, and intended to spread scientific knowledge and philosophy through music. If Albert Einstein were alive, he might have joined them on violin. 

Rosemary Conte is a jazz singer, voice coach, freelance writer and hypnosis therapist. Reach her at or

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State Theatre Presents Diana Krall: Turn Up the Quiet Tour
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Diana Krall live in concert as part of her Turn Up The Quiet World Tour on Friday, October 12 at 8:00pm. Tickets range from $43-$153.50.  This concert will feature songs from Diana Krall’s stunning new album, Turn Up The Quiet, out now on Verve Records as well as a mix of some fan favorites. 
Kean Stage Presents The Manhattan Transfer
(UNION, NJ) -- Going strong after more than 45 years, Grammy Award winner The Manhattan Transfer, with tenor vocals from Kean University alumnus Alan Paul '71, will captivate Kean Stage audiences with their distinctive four-part harmonies at Enlow Recital Hall on Sunday, September 30 at 3:00pm.
3rd Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- The North Jersey Indie Rock Festival returns to Jersey City on October 6. Presented by Mint 400 Records and Sniffling Indie Kids, the festival includes acts from those labels and Little Dickman Records, Rhyme and Reason Records, and State Champion Records.  The festival takes place at White Eagle Hall. Doors are at 4:00pm and the music starts at 4:30pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
Bobby McFerrin To Kick Off the 125th Season Of Princeton University Concerts
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- On Friday, September 21, 2018 at 7:30pm, 10-time GRAMMY award-winning artist Bobby McFerrin launches Princeton University Concerts’ (“PUC”) 125th Anniversary Season in a special event performance at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. The concert will feature McFerrin alongside members of his a cappella group Gimme5 in a program titled “ Circlesongs ” -- an evening of spontaneous music-making through shared improvised sound, in a language growing out of tribal chant and sacred music. 
The Dryden Ensemble Presents Bach Cantata Fest
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Dryden Ensemble will present a Bach Cantata Fest on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, Pennsylvania, and on Sunday, October 21 at 3:00pm at Miller Chapel, located on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Tickets are $25 for general admission and free to students with an ID. They may be purchased at the door or online at

“Here’s Lucie!” Lucie Arnaz LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center
Even though the weather outside Holmdel, NJ’s PNC Bank Arts Center is cloudy with some light intermittent drizzle this Wednesday, September 12, 2018 afternoon, the venue’s stage is still shining brightly with talent thanks to a live performance by television, film, and stage actress/singer Lucie Arnaz!
Mike Aiken Talks About Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch At RVCC
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) -- Raritan Valley Community College presents Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.  The three-day event will feature a number of different musical shows by Mike Aiken, as well as other solo artists and groups.  
Virtuoso Jazz Violinist Jean-Luc Ponty LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
It’s a warm but lovely Aug. 23, 2018 evening here in Newton, NJ. After enjoying some hand-dipped Cliff’s ice cream from the window at Hayek Market, we march up Spring Street looking forward to hearing some world-class jazz at one of the Garden State’s favorite concert venues, The Newton Theatre.
An Interview with Bernie Williams
Four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist and composer Bernie Williams will perform with his All-Star Band at the Jersey Shore this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at The Grunin Center of the Arts in Toms River, NJ!
“Unleash the Love” The Beach Boys LIVE! at The Great Auditorium
So what were you doing at 8:18 pm on 8/18/18? Well, we’re not sure what you were up to, but we know that on that hot August night, we were listening to “America’s Band” — The Beach Boys — and watching them “Unleash the Love” while performing their incredible catalog of hits at Ocean Grove NJ’s Great Auditorium!

Event calendar
Thursday, Sep 20, 2018


ELI YOUNG BAND WITH CODY BRYAN @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

CELTIC THUNDER X @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm

Lost 80's Live @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm

Citizen Cope @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm

ICON 2018: ELIMINATION ROUND 2 @ Hamilton Stage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm

Linda Eder @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm


Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

Auditions for Seussical at CDC Theatre @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 7:00pm

Playhouse 22's Third-Thursday Play Reading Series @ Playhouse 22, East Brunswick - 7:30pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Opening Reception @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 6:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 8:00pm


New Jersey Film Festival @ Ruth Adams Building #001, New Brunswick - 6:00pm


Crybaby Matinee: The Triplets of Belleville @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

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