'Connect with one another': Stanford medical professionals moonlight as performers amid COVID-19 pandemic

STANFORD, Calif. (KGO) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has put enormous stress on health care workers around the Bay Area. But at Stanford, doctors, nurse and others have found a way to keep their spirits strong with music and what has become a schedule of regular performances.

Raji Koppolu, a nurse practitioner, loves performing classical and just about any other kind of music. So does Dr. Matias Bruzoni, but the idea of performing together first took shape under a different kind of spotlight. Dr. Bruzoni is a pediatric surgeon at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford where Koppolu is a pediatric nurse.

While working together, they started talking about music.

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"And we started practicing some songs just the two of us. And he may have told you, we named our group the 2-0 Vicryl, which is one of the sutures we use in the operating room," Koppolu explained.

"And we were able to blend nicely our music, tastes and likes, and the harmonies and all of that which has always been my passion," said Dr. Bruzoni.

But now, roughly a decade later, they've found an important new audience. Koppolu and Bruzoni have joined with dozens of doctors and nurses and others across Stanford for a popular series of virtual performances known as the Stuck@Home Concert series.

The weekly concerts were launched after the COVID-19 lockdown forced Stanford to cancel a symphony performance. And organizer Jackie Genovese says they've grown into a kind of antidote for the stress and pressures doctors and nurses are facing from the pandemic.

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"It's really turned into this really amazing way to have a space of joy and music and sort of contemplation for what we're all going through," says Genovese.

Or, in Koppolu and Bruzoni's interpretation, you've got a friend. It's the James Taylor classic they performed together at a recent concert.

A heartening message for medical professionals dealing with an historic challenge. Friends, colleagues and entire families have signed up to join the Stuck@Home series. Like a bit musical sunlight, shining through the crisis.

"It has broken down some boundaries, in terms of our ability to connect with one another," Koppolu believes.

At a time when music, might be the most soothing of medicines.

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