Varanasi, India - Paul Peabody, acclaimed violinist with the New York City Ballet and part of the Grammy winning orchestra that scored "Titanic," just returned from an unforgettable journey providing the gift of music throughout India. A long time Smile Train supporter, Paul enjoyed his second tour of Smile Train India partner hospitals, playing fiddle for patients, families, doctors, and staff.
He spent most of his five weeks alongside Smile Train partners Dr. Sunil Richardson, Dr. Jyostna Murthy, and Dr. Subodh Singh. Paul comforted patients with a myriad of music from classical to traditional Hindi songs, but the requests really came pouring in when staff would find out that he played an integral role in the music for "Titanic." Paul primarily rotated between the waiting room and the recovery room to calm the fears of patients and parents before surgery and use the healing powers of music to aid in their recovery. Towards the end of his trip, Paul was even asked to play for the doctors inside the OR.
"When Dr. Sunil Richardson asked if I would play [in the OR], I gave a stricken look and I made him promise me that there was no way that my sounds could interfere at all with anyone's concentration! He told me that many surgeons actually play classical music to help them concentrate. In the OR everything worked like clockwork: extremely peaceful."
Children who had never heard, let alone seen, a violin before, found themselves glued to their seats as the music washed over them. Whether it was playing Hindi folk songs to comfort crying patients, or playing some of the pop songs he worked on for Michael Jackson and Madonna, Paul's talents, enthusiasm, and kindness revered him to everyone he met.
His visit coincided with India's Independence Day, August 15, where he joined in the celebration by playing for and assisting in Dr. Singh's tree planting, Green Independence Day Initiative. Paul has recently returned to New York and is already getting ready to plan his trip next year.
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