December 22, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 41

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MedTones share songs throughout city and beyond

A choir performance inside a cave? Why not, said organizers of "Caroling in the Caverns" this holiday season. The Health Science Center MedTones choir agreed. Armed with flashlights, their portable keyboard and their voices, members of the choir made their way to Natural Bridge Caverns between San Antonio and New Braunfels recently and descended into one of the chambers to give a free performance in the semi-darkness. "As tour groups would walk through, we would sing carols," said Gerry Schmoker, medicine/cardiology, president of the MedTones. "It was fun and definitely different! Other choirs in various areas of the caverns also performed carols.

Medtones sing The MedTones' annual "signature" performance is at the campus holiday reception, but the group actively represents the Health Science Center year-round.

"The MedTones is just a group of people who love to sing and to represent the Health Science Center in the community," she said. "All of our performances are free and we are always looking for new members. Like most choirs, we are always especially short of male voices."

If you didn't happen to catch the MedTones during its holiday performances at Brooke Army Medical Center, Patriot Heights, the caverns or other sites, you might have heard the group at the recent President's Holiday Open House in the auditorium foyer. The MedTones' December performance has become a campus holiday tradition. "We have a little difficulty with the acoustics when performing in that particular location, but we hope we were able to help put employees and students into a holiday mood," Schmoker said.

Regular members number about 12 to 15 at present, although sometimes the ranks swell to more than 20. One current member, Dr. Susan Wynne, joined when she was on campus in psychiatry, and continues to participate even though she's off campus in private practice. One couple Sue and Gary Griess; employees in computing resources and biochemistry, respectively even met, dated and married thanks to their participation in the MedTones.

Some of the accompanists have included Sue Griess; Ramiro Fuentes, computing resources; choir director Gilbert Aldrete Jr.; and Martha Martinez, purchasing.

The choir has existed for about 16 years and still has one of the original members Mike McDuffy, medicine/medical oncology. The group has performed at sites ranging from Sea World of Texas and Six Flags Fiesta Texas to Cappy's restaurant and in private homes. The group rehearses each Wednesday from noon until 1 p.m. in lecture room 4.670U in the Dental School. The month of January has been set aside as a mini-vacation for members, but the group will start up again the first Wednesday in February.

Anyone interested is most welcome to attend. For information about the MedTones, please call Schmoker at ext. 7-9704.