How a Clinical Trial Uncovered a Piece of Musical History

Late last year, clinical investigator Dr. Michael Caldwell was speaking with a patient during a regularly scheduled visit to our clinic. The visit happened to coincide with an important anniversary for the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the famed group who earned Nashville the “Music City” moniker.  Dr. Caldwell mentioned a concert at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium that night, which piqued the patient’s interest because of a unique piece of family history that suddenly became extremely relevant.

His grandparents had handed down one of the oldest known recordings of the Fisk Jubilee Quartet, a subgroup of the Singers that performed in the early 20th century, when phonographs and recordings were extremely rare and expensive to own. The recording came in a wax cylinder, an early form of recorded music.

The cylinder had been passed down in the family for generations, and it was finally time for the story of the recording – and its inspiring original owner – to see the light of day.

Fortunately, we were able to make a connection with some of the best storytellers in town, at Nashville Public Radio. We also invited Dr. Paul Kwami, the current head of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, to join us for a reunion.

You can listen to (or read) about the results here.

Every patient has a unique story to share, and everyone has their own reason to participate in a clinical trial. This time, we were lucky to be a small part of something bigger than a research study.

One of the joys of this business is connecting with patients and building a compassionate community of people who just want to help. Our hope is that every patient who walks through our door knows that they are contributing something excellent to the world, and allowing others to live healthier, longer lives. Next time you’re in the office, we hope you share your story with us, too.