An approaching storm didn't stop rock and blues artist Keith Sanchez from belting out tunes on a recent June afternoon. Nor did the gusty winds discourage the group of people who had gathered to listen to his performance.
The music was part of a free lunchtime concert series for HSC faculty, staff and students happening all summer at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center plaza, next to the Basic Medical Sciences Building.
The force of the strong winds flipped over some chairs, but one music lover dug in her heels and stayed until the end of the concert.
“Music brings up dopamine and serotonin. It resets you,” said Tess Fresquez, a UNM HSC Biomedical Research Department employee.
And that's exactly why the UNM HSC Wellness Program is organizing the concert series for the second year. The group hopes the concerts encourage members of the campus community to take a pause from their busy lives.
“This year, our program is focused on helping people take small steps in improving their health and wellness,” said Nicole Elzy, HSC wellness program lead and strategic support manager for the chancellor’s office. “Music is one sort of wellness.”
Thirty HSC volunteers, called "wellness champions," made significant changes to this year's concerts. The series - featuring eight bands - will take place on alternate Wednesdays instead of Fridays. A variety of vendors, including personal fitness trainers and yoga experts, will be available to provide information on supporting a well-rounded lifestyle. And this year, organizers are providing free boxed lunches to the first 200, instead of 100, HSC faculty, staff and students who attend the shows.
Elzy hopes that music will help the HSC community embrace a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. “It could mean different things to different people," she said. "It may not mean losing weight. It may mean taking time for yourself and doing something you enjoy.”
Wellness champion Wellsley Loyd says it takes diligent work in seven areas – emotional, environmental, physical, social, occupational, spiritual and intellectual – to achieve complete wellness. “You will be completely balanced,” said Loyd, an administrative coordinator in the chancellor's office.
Vendors, like the personal trainers and yoga experts, will be available beginning at 11:00 a.m. on concert days, with bands performing from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Scheduled concerts include:
June 25 – Fabulous Martini Tones (jazz/blues/exotic music)
July 9 – Zack Quintana (blues/rock)
July 23 – Stem Ivory (rock/alternative/funk/jazz)
August 13 – Sabor (dance/pop)
August 27 – Duke City Saxophone Choir (classical/jazz/orchestra)
September 10 – Two Year Saga (punk/pop/rock)
September 24 – Just Lazarus (rock/New Mexico rock/indie)