Octet, South Bend Symphony Orchestra’s three-dimensional, immersive musical experience, will provide respite and musical enrichment to the vaccination clinic at Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) Mishawaka Medical Center. Vaccine recipients will have the opportunity to enjoy the symphonic music as they wait the allotted observation time after receiving their vaccine. Octet is the ideal medium to provide those working on the frontlines and those receiving the vaccine a sense of peace through the sound of music, as it translates the live experience into arenas too risky for live musicians.

“Octet was developed as an answer to the pandemic’s squeeze on our community’s experience of the soul-healing power of music. To deploy it in a hospital setting, and in support of the vaccine drive, no less, is the next step in serving the community on the front lines. We’re so grateful for Saint Joseph Health System’s expansive view of wellness and their eagerness to welcome Octet,” explained Justus Zimmerman, South Bend Symphony Orchestra’s Executive Director.

“As we all work to continue to flatten the curve through COVID vaccine injections, the soothing sounds of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra will uplift the healthcare workforce and the general public when it’s their turn for the vaccine,” said Chris Karam, President, SJHS Mishawaka and Plymouth Medical Centers. “We’re proud to partner with the Symphony by bringing their talents to Saint Joseph Health System.”

Octet is a proof of concept. Originally a response to the global pandemic, the result transcends this period. The idea is this: eight musicians record as a small, socially distanced ensemble. After a sound engineer channels each musician through a unique speaker, the system is spread out in such a way as to give listeners the freedom to isolate each instrumentalist’s part or experience the musical blend. The project employed Symphony musicians during a time of severely limited work opportunities, and the high-fidelity speakers and immersive soundscape offer patrons a completely new perspective on music.

“Not only is this one solution to music-making during a pandemic, but we can take the system – which is small enough to be portable – into schools, libraries, hospitals, etc. It works as an amazing education and community engagement tool as well,” said Halle McGuire, project lead for the Symphony.

This project was made possible in collaboration with Riverlights Music Festival, with recording and presentation space provided by the South Bend Civic Theater and the South Bend Museum of Art. The South Bend Symphony Orchestra acknowledges generous operating support from national and local organizations, such as the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Octet features South Bend Symphony Orchestra Music Director Alastair Willis, Violin I – Mark Portolese,

Jessica Bennett, and Azusa Tashiro; Violin II – Nicolas Orbovich and Rachel Brown; Viola – Rachel Goff;

Cello – Lara Turner; Bass – Edward W. Randles. Musical selections include Rondeau from “Abdelazer” by Henry Purcell (1659-95), Andante Festivo by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), and Jig, Vivace, from “St. Paul’s Suite in C Major” by Gustav Holst (1874-1934).

About the South Bend Symphony Orchestra

Embarking on the 89th season, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra is the region’s only professional orchestra and is committed to engaging the community in all it does. In addition to being recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and other state and local arts funding organizations, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra is the recipient of the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County’s 2019 Leighton Award for Nonprofit Excellence, which recognizes the best-run nonprofit organization in St. Joseph County, Indiana.

Media Contact

Sarah Perschbacher, sperschbacher@southbendsymphony.org or 574-232-6343

About the Riverlights Music Festival

Riverlights Music Festival is a collaboration between local, regional, and national artists, community leaders, and local businesses seeking to illuminate South Bend as a prime destination for original music in the Midwest. Our festival showcases awe-inspiring music and creates unforgettable experiences featuring the best local artists, businesses, and entertainment vendors in South Bend. We are a homegrown, South Bend based organization that strives to better connect our community to music and the arts in fun and family-friendly ways.

About Saint Joseph Health System

Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) is a not-for-profit healthcare system located in North Central Indiana that offers acute-based hospital care and post-acute services including: community wellness, home care, physician clinics, outpatient services, independent and assisted senior living, memory care and affordable senior apartments. SJHS includes: Mishawaka Medical Center; Plymouth Medical Center; Outpatient services of the Elm Road Medical Campus; Health Insurance Services; Saint Joseph Physician Network; VNA Home Care; the Senior Living Communities at St. Paul’s, Holy Cross and Trinity Tower; and Saint Joseph PACE. SJHS serves more than 200,000 members of the Michiana community annually. SJHS is a Regional Health Ministry of Trinity Health in Livonia, Michigan.

SJHS Media Contact

Tom VanNevel, Thomas.vannevel@sjrmc.com or 574-404-1048

For safety measures, individuals are asked to remain seated while enjoying Octet.