The target of this study was to examine how performances by the Staff Christmas Choir of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (“Peter Mac”) affected inpatients, outpatients and visitors in 2008. The performances were received favourably by 93.7% of respondents, including nine from Jewish, Hindu or atheist backgrounds. Many said the music aroused positive emotions and memories. Several described transformative thoughts and physical reactions, felt affirmed by the Christmas spirit or message, and/or appreciated the peaceful or enlivened and social atmosphere. The choir also elicited personal perspectives about Christmas and Judaism, and the importance of “enjoying the moment”. The Staff Christmas Choir created a supportive and uplifting atmosphere for many oncology patients and their visitors. However, responses from people from non-Christian backgrou nds were limited, and further investigation is warranted to extend our understanding of the effect of Christmas music in Australian public health settings.
O’Callaghan, C. C., Hornby, C. J., Pearson, E. J., and Ball, D. L. (2009). “the moment is all we have”: patients and visitors reflect on a staff christmas choir. The Medical journal of Australia, 191(11-12):684-687.