Music with meaning at cancer centre

May 14, 2022 BY

Giving: David Castles plays anything from show tunes to classical music as a volunteer musician at Bendigo Health’s cancer centre. Photo: KATE MONOTTI

FOR David Castles, playing piano at the Bendigo Health cancer centre is a way to give back to the community.

A pianist of some 65 years, Mr Castles is one of a handful of instrumentalists taking part in the health service’s volunteer music and arts project.

“Music has been part of my life forever so I thought ‘well maybe that’s something I can be involved with’,” Mr Castles said.

The project sees musicians play in the waiting area of the cancer centre in an effort to create a calming environment for visitors.

Ultimately the project is aimed at getting live music into the centre every day.

“I’m playing once a week at the moment for a couple of hours on a Monday morning. For me it’s great fun, I enjoy sharing my music with other people. I feel it’s something I can give back to the community,” Mr Castles said.

“The cancer centre in particular is probably an area where people come in with some concerns and apprehensions so if I can make their day a little bit lighter by having a little bit of music playing in the background then I think that helps.”

Playing anything from classical pieces to stage musical numbers and popular tunes, Mr Castles said he regularly hears from passers-by as he performs.

“I think every session I’ve had a patient or a staff member come up and tap me on the shoulder and say ‘thanks for what you’re doing’,” he said.

“There was a Facebook post that the hospital put up and there’s been a lot of comments on that, a number of staff and patients who walk through and even people who have been involved with the cancer centre who’ve said it’s great having music in these sorts of places, it just eases the tension and helps them relax a little bit.”

The project is also taking on new volunteers and more information is available via bendigohealth.org.au/volunteering or by contacting [email protected] or 5454 7639.