Rockin' at Arvo

It seemed as if everywhere he went, Thomas John, MD, found ophthalmologists were listening to classical music. The clinical associate professor at Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago, thought it was time to shake things up with a little rock and roll. After several years of persistence, Dr. John persuaded the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) to give it a chance at the annual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

This past May, the ARVO Rocks band completed its fourth concert at the organization's annual meeting.

Dr. John admitted to listening to classical music with peers during his fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, and later, at the University of Chicago as director of the cornea service.

Meet the band

The band is a complete, very professional group, according to Dr. John. It includes four vocalists and features lead, bass, rhythm, keyboard, drums, saxophone, and once, a guest harmonica.

Current band members include: [vocalists] Richard Foulkes, MD (Chicago), Miles McLennan (Allergan, Irvine, CA), Mitch Farber (Fort Lauderdale, FL), and Darryl Walker (Fort Lauderdale, FL); [keyboard] John Sheppard, MD (Norfolk, VA); [guitar] Walker, Dr. Foulkes, McLennan, Farber; [saxophone] Juan Vazquez (Miami); [drums] Dr. John; and [hand drums] Kenny Roland (Fort Lauderdale, FL).

"We are all very busy ophthalmologists and non-ophthalmologists from around the country," Dr. John said, adding that ARVO is the band's only gig.

For their performance, the band plays 30 numbers with two short breaks. They play a wide range of rock music, including: Jimmy Buffett, the Beatles, the Clash, Santana, Elton John, Elvis, the Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, UB40, Jimi Hendrix, and more.

At the last concert, Dr. John taught line dancing during intermission.

Having a good time

When the ARVO presentations are over on Tuesday evening, attendees look forward to a rock concert in a fun beach atmosphere in Fort Lauderdale.