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Evening of the Arts, orchestra and choir provide creative outlets—and free, quality entertainment—for the IU School of Medicine community. See dates for events in April 2024.

IU School of Medicine's got talent!

The IU School of Medicine Orchestra plays at Evening of the Arts.

The IU School of Medicine Orchestra plays at Evening of the Arts.

Evening of the Arts, orchestra and choir provide creative outlets — and free, quality entertainment — for the school community.


Indiana University School of Medicine student Leah Peipert was born into a family culture steeped in both music and medicine.

“I really started learning to be a musician in utero,” said the daughter of Jeffrey Peipert, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Although her father plays the trumpet, baritone horn and trombone, it was Leah’s mother, Joyce, who started all four of the Peipert children on violin at age 4. Leah, the youngest, could hardly wait to begin. As a toddler, she once got caught with a taco tucked under her chin like a violin, playing it with a fork “bow.”

Leah and Jeff Peipert with their instruments

Through the years, Leah enjoyed making music with her family and was part of several musical ensembles, playing both violin and flute.

“I always had a group to play with until medical school,” said Leah, who completed two years on the IU School of Medicine—Fort Wayne campus before transferring to Indianapolis for clinical rotations.

Now Leah has joined her dad as a member of the IU School of Medicine Orchestra. The group consists of musically inclined medical students, faculty and staff and provides a stress-relieving, creative outlet.

Jeffery Peipert didn’t play his trombone for most of his career as an academic obstetrician and gynecologist.

“I love making music again,” he said. “What I most enjoy is experiencing music with colleagues and my daughter, who is a far better musician than I ever was!”

The orchestra and the newly formed IU School of Medicine Choir will both perform at the upcoming IU School of Music Evening of the Arts on April 6 and will hold separate concerts later in the month of April. All three performances are free to attend.


Evening of the Arts

Amanda Thayer in a dinosaur costume performing acrobatics on a Cyr wheelPerformances at this year’s Evening of the Arts (EOTA) will include a Bhangra Indian dance group, acrobatics, ballet, poetry reading and many musical ensembles — proving IU School of Medicine’s got talent. A silent auction of original artwork produced by members of the school community and items from local businesses will support the IU Student Outreach Clinic, which offers primary care medical services free of charge to residents of Indianapolis’ near eastside.

“This will be the 32nd annual Evening of the Arts, celebrating our medical community’s unique talents and creating lasting memories with colleagues,” said EOTA President Kathleen Ho.

The first variety show took place in April 1992, and the event has been an annual extravaganza ever since. The show’s original host was medical student Joel Priddy, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma during his second year of medical school and continued serving as event emcee while undergoing treatment. He passed on Sept. 6, 2000, and his family established the Joel Priddy Evening of the Arts Endowment to provide continued support for the annual talent showcase.

Pottery pieces in the silent auctionIn 2023, medical students and residents created more than 30 art pieces for the silent auction, and fundraising tripled from $700 in 2022 to over $2,500.

“We are on track to surpass this amount in 2024,” Ho said.

The April 6 event will include many new and returning performers. Check out past years’ performances on the IU School of Medicine Evening of the Arts YouTube channel.


IU School of Medicine Orchestra

Orchestra musicians play their instruments at a concertOn April 14, the IU School of Medicine Orchestra will perform its longest and largest concert since the group’s founding in 2010, including nearly 50 musical members of the school community. The orchestra began with just a dozen or so medical students and now includes MD and PhD students, medical residents, faculty and staff leaders, and others connected to health sciences programs at IU Indianapolis.

The orchestra is generously supported by an endowment from the late Stephen Leapman, MD, first executive associate dean for educational affairs at IU School of Medicine. Leapman didn’t play in the orchestra himself but was a big fan and attended every concert, said orchestra director Dave Schurger, a high school orchestra teacher who has been wielding the conductor’s baton from the earliest days of the medical school orchestra.

“It’s been awesome,” Schurger said. “I’ve gotten to work on pieces of music I never would’ve had the chance to do with high school musicians. And I get to practice what I preach to my students — playing an instrument doesn’t just end after high school. This is a lifetime endeavor.”

Leslie Hulvershorn, MD, started playing the oboe in fifth grade and was a music minor at Indiana University, but her instrument case got dusty as her medical training and career advanced.

“I didn’t play for 20 years, so I had no idea if I would even remember how to hold the thing,” said Hulvershorn, now chair of the Department of Psychiatry and the orchestra’s faculty advisor. “It’s like riding a bicycle. It was rough for the first couple months, but you remember.

Director David Schurger faces the audience

“For me, and for many people who stop playing their instrument at some point to focus on medicine, it’s like coming back to your past and reclaiming part of your identity.” 

Hulvershorn looks forward to the orchestra’s Sunday afternoon rehearsals. Schurger keeps the atmosphere relaxed, and no one is critical of mistakes.

“We laugh at ourselves if we play the wrong note or come in at the wrong part,” said Hulvershorn, who sits beside two MD/PhD students in the oboe section. “We’re all peers in this setting. When I’m playing my oboe, I’m just one of these people trying our best to make music. There’s no hierarchy.”

Another oboe player, anesthesiologist Michael Miller, MD, will play the English horn in the upcoming concert. A double-reed instrument like the oboe, the English horn is larger and produces a deeper tone.

Student orchestra leader JD Damrath, a French horn player, will also take on an extra instrument as the orchestra performs “Piano Concerto in A minor” by composer Edvard Grieg.

“It’s like my senior capstone project,” said Damrath, a researcher in chronic kidney disease who will graduate with a combined MD/PhD in May. “This is my first time playing piano on stage.”

IU School of Medicine Orchestra performing on stageThe free concert will also include Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9” and the “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” by John Williams — a nod to the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris.

“We’ve always played difficult pieces and played at a high level,” Hulvershorn said. “Around the city, we’re known as one of the top amateur orchestras.”

The IU School of Medicine Orchestra performs a fall and a spring concert each year as well as smaller events including a holiday concert at Riley Hospital for Children.

“I would encourage anyone who is itching to pick up their instrument again to join the orchestra,” Damrath said. “Our mission is to promote a healthy work-life balance for physicians and trainees across all stages. Orchestra, like medicine, is a team sport.”


IU School of Medicine Choir

IU School of Medicine Choir officers pose with director Gavin CraigInspired by the positive experience of a friend in the IU School of Medicine Orchestra, third-year medical student Victoria DeBrock gathered some vocalists to form the IU School of Medicine Choir. The choir’s inaugural concert will be April 28 and will feature selections with themes of hope, love and unity.

“I have always loved singing and have been a part of choirs at church and throughout elementary, middle school and high school,” DeBrock said. “Many of our other members were part of college choirs or even minored in musical areas.”

The orchestra’s director helped the choir find its conductor, Gavin Craig, director of music for St. Therese Little Flower Church in Indianapolis. Craig starts the choir’s bimonthly Sunday rehearsals with stretches and a fun vocal warmup song.

“During rehearsal, I like to try to promote general wellness, vocal health and social well-being,” he said. “But, of course, we also just make good music when we are together.”

Gavin Craig conducts the choir during a rehearsalThe upcoming concert includes a song by South African composer Mbuso Ndlovu titled “Ngothando,” which is based on a poem sharing the message, “through love only we will conquer everything.”

“With starting a new group, the biggest challenge is creating a vision for the group and seeing that come to light,” Craig said. “I’ve decided that using this group to promote universal themes of love, justice, compassion and community is a good start.”

Anyone interested in joining the choir, including faculty and staff, may email DeBrock. Other student leaders are Arianna Harris-Kawano, Claire Whalen and Amanda Wissmann. Along with the spring concert, DeBrock hopes to add smaller performances at local nursing homes and other community venues.


Save these dates!

Sarah Lipp performs a ballet from "Sleeping Beauty"

Evening of the Arts 2024

Date: Saturday, April 6

Time: 7-10 p.m.

Location: Indiana Historical Society Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis


IU School of Medicine Orchestra spring concert

Date: Sunday, April 14

Time: 2 p.m.

Location: Indiana Historical Society Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis

Ari Williams and Jacob Turner perform a western tale on guitar and banjo 

IU School of Medicine Choir concert

Date: Sunday, April 28

Time: 4-5 p.m.

Location: Basile Center at Eskenazi Hall, Herron School of Art + Design, 735 W. New York St., Indianapolis

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Laura Gates

Laura is senior writer with the Office of Strategic Communications and loves to tell the stories of outstanding students, faculty and staff at IU School of Medicine. A native Hoosier, she has over 25 years of experience in communications, having worked with newspapers and other media organizations in Indiana and Florida, along with small businesses, community groups and non-profit organizations. Before joining IU School of Medicine in January 2020, she was editor-in-chief of a lifestyle magazine serving the community of Estero, Florida.