Healthy Harmony

The Lymph Notes Offer Harmony between Studying and Stress Relief

The songs may have changed in the last half-century, as have the Einstein students singing them, but the goal of Einstein's a cappella group, the Lymph Notes, has always been to have a great time.

Members of the Lymph Notes at rehearsal
Members of the Lymph Notes at rehearsal
"It's not work, it's not studying. It’s just something fun," said club member Sam Kiernan, a second-year medical student.

From belting out humorous Ogden Nash songs at school holiday parties decades ago to rocking out to Bruno Mars and Katy Perry at a recent concert held in Einstein’s Robbins Auditorium, the Lymph Notes has been the ultimate stress reliever for generations of medical students at Einstein.

"Sometimes I think, 'I'm losing two hours of study time, how am I going to make that time up?' But once you get to rehearsal, you can forget about school for a while and use a completely different part of your brain," said Charlotte Delaney, second-year medical student and musical director of the group.

A Welcome Respite

The Lymph Notes, like all a cappella groups, create music using only their voices. The current lineup includes 18 students, most in their first- and second-years at Einstein. Open to all, the group provides an outlet for students with varied musical experience to come together to create something beautiful.

The Lymph Notes at their recent performance
The Lymph Notes at their recent performance
"I was in an a cappella group in college.” said Mr. Kiernan. "I wasn't really expecting med school to have something like this where I could participate in music and perform. It's a great way to take a break and have some fun."

A Part of Einstein’s Fabric

The group has existed off and on under the same name since the late 1950s. Dr. Joshua Miller, a professor of surgery at Northwestern University who is a member of Einstein's class of 1961, sang bass and baritone during his Lymph Notes career. He joined the club during his first year and remembers singing "The Trouble with Women," a humorous song written by famed American poet Ogden Nash.

"We had quite a repertoire," recalled Dr. Miller in a recent phone interview. "We sang unique variety type songs that were humorous. That was our signature."

He said the eight or so students in the Lymph Notes then held their practice sessions in the dorms a couple times a week, and the group performed at school functions a couple of times per year. “We had a lot of fun,” he said.

That's still the case.

Putting on the Hits

During the recent performance in Robbins, more than 200 Einstein students showed up to hear the current Lymph Notes perform songs by popular artists Neon Trees, Lorde, Bruno Mars and The Script. The show was the biggest event for this incarnation of the group.

The Lymph Notes, circa 1960
The Lymph Notes, circa 1960
The crowd raved when the female Lymph Notes ran down the aisles tossing out glow-stick necklaces as the guys sang—and danced to—Hot Chelle Rae’s “Tonight Tonight.” The performers received a standing ovation after closing their eight-song set with an intricate mash-up of Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Sara Bareilles’ "Brave."

Last fall, Ms. Delaney—whose club nickname "The Sentinel" references the "chief" lymph node, which is the first lymph node that drains an area of the body—pushed for the group to rehearse weekly. Once the group had developed enough material, they started performing at school functions, including a music night at Einstein Café and the Ad Libitum Art and Literary Night. They also sang at the Homeless Outreach Project at Einstein’s annual holiday party, held at a local shelter.

While many students leave the club when they enter their demanding third year at Einstein, current members said the club will continue to be an outlet for students seeking a study break that involves music. "We don't have a ton of time do outside things, so it's always a treat to come together and sing with friends for a couple of hours," said Evan Tamura, a second-year medical student.

As for upcoming performances, the Lymph Notes will be singing at the Class of 2016’s Transition Ceremony on Sunday, June 8, 2014. For further information about the group, visit the Lymph Notes Facebook page.

Posted on: Friday, April 04, 2014