JGH Jazz Festival—and its organizer—swing out in style
Amid soaring rhythms and layered harmonies, a bittersweet note crept into the most recent edition of the JGH Jazz Festival: It was the final production before the retirement of Bryan Highbloom as the hospital’s Music Therapist and festival organizer.
Mr. Highbloom, who launched the festival in 2000, saw it as an essential way of contributing to healing and emotional vitality—as well as being an outlet for pure entertainment—for JGH patients, visitors and staff. It has become one of the hospital’s most eagerly anticipated events of late spring and early summer, thanks to support from the public, the JGH Foundation and the JGH Auxiliary.
As always, the most recent edition, from June 7 to 17, featured instrumentals and vocals in an eclectic variety of musical styles, including jazz, rock, blues, folk and free-form. Performances were held at lunch hour on weekdays in the picnic area at the Côte-des-Neiges entrance. Highlights can be viewed on the JGH Jazz page of the hospital’s website.
Throughout his career at the JGH, Mr. Highbloom was known for his good humour and musical versatility, as he visited patients at their bedside to raise their spirits. In 2014, his deep commitment to improving the patient experience earned him a Caring Beyond Award, presented by the JGH Humanization of Care Committee to members of staff who do their utmost on behalf of patients.
An excerpt from the letter nominating Mr. Highbloom read: “Every step that Bryan takes, every note he sings and every chord he strums on his ubiquitous guitar is for the patient. He brings his sensitive, sunny disposition to the units, taking requests and playing across the musical genres (be it rock, Yiddish folk tunes or jazz) with ease, skill and warmth—whatever will transport the patient to a happier place and time in their lives, far from their health troubles.”