Physician discovers just the right note

Sunday Snapshots

Album: Holistic...

June 09, 1996|By Linell Smith

Physician discovers just the right note; Album: Holistic 0) physician Alan Gaby has created a CD of his own songs about medical school and life. Currently on sabbatical, he hopes to revive his 'creative side.'

After 15 years practicing holistic medicine in Baltimore, physician Alan Gaby has added music to his medical arsenal.

His first CD, "About Doctors & Folks," demonstrates that music can help treat psyches, especially if they belong to physicians who have been overly tenderized by the process of becoming doctors.

"Side one of the album is about the tragedy and comedy of going through medical school," Dr. Gaby says. "Side two is the tragedy and comedy of going through life."

The 46-year-old doctor, who paid for the recording himself, wrote a lot of songs in medical school as a way of "surviving" the experience.

This collection recalls the material of such songwriters as Tom Lehrer and Mark Russell with the poignancy of such tunes as "July 1st Intern Blues" and the comic excesses of "Medical School, The First Day":

"You know there is a trematode that's got a small cercaria

And then there is a nematode that's called a Wuchereria

There's Shigella, Klebsiella, brucellosis, tularemia

F: and other little buggers that'll give you septicemia."

Currently, the Baltimore native is on sabbatical in Seattle, where he is teaching therapeutic nutrition at Bastyr University, a center naturopathic medical studies.

He is also finishing what he describes as a "10-pound" textbook on nutritional medicine; his previous books in the field of holistic medicine are "Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis: A BTC Woman's Essential Guide" and "B-6: The Natural Healer."

Dr. Gaby grew up in Baltimore and went to Yale University,

majoring in political science and math.

After teaching math and coaching wrestling at the Gilman School, he got his master's degree in biochemistry at Emory University, then attended the University of Maryland Medical School. He is past president of the American Holistic Medical Association.

Over the years, Dr. Gaby's medical songs have proved to be major hits at professional meetings; so far, he has sold 500 CDs. He hopes this sabbatical will revive his musical inspiration.

"Being in medicine kind of zaps that creative side of your life; you're always on call and have to be focused in a certain mind-set," he says. "You can't just take a weekend off and expect the music to come back. I would like to do more with it."

Copies of the CD ($18) and tape ($13) are available from AHMA Books, PO Box 21535, Baltimore. Md. 21282. The fabric flowing forward under Phyllis Fisher's fingers through her Singer Fashion Mate sewing machine like a shimmering stream is a big, bold, black and white check brocaded with metallic silver thread.

She's making scarfs and bow ties and cummerbunds for the June graduates of Sought Out Redeem Christian School on Belair Road. They'll look very smart indeed in the tuxedos and formals accented by Mrs. Fisher's accessories.

Proms, graduations and weddings make this a busy time for Mrs. Fisher. She's the proprietor of Fisher's Neckties and Accessories shop on Eutaw Street just north of Mulberry Street. She and her husband opened the shop a little more than five years ago. He died in November.

"My husband started it out, and I'm trying to keep his dream alive," Phyllis Fisher said.

William Fisher started selling neckties from the trunk of his car around and about Baltimore. His distinctive ties were often made of kente cloth and other African designs. But he also stocked contemporary Italian silks that appealed to the car salesmen who became good customers.

He was also an evangelist who preached at tent meetings as part of the outreach program of First Apostolic Faith Church. He came to the church after he kicked a drug habit.

"God changed his life," Mrs. Fisher says. "A lot of the people he ministered to came from drugs and that type of lifestyle.

"Oh, yes," she says, "he was a good preacher, a good husband and a good man."

He chose as the logo for their business the Greek symbol for Christ the Fisher of Men.

"We started out with just neckties," Mrs. Williams says. But the business expanded to include everything from shirts to suits to priestly cassocks and bishops' caps. Since her husband's death, the business has become a kind of extended family affair with her mother, sisters, sons and grandsons pitching in to help out when the shop gets busy.

And she still has plenty of neckties, still has kente cloth ties in vivid gold, black, saffron, burnt orange and deep blue. But she also has 100 percent silk neckwear by Martin Wong of Napa, Calif., Pavia of Italy and Don Loper of Beverley Hills in classic contemporary patterns.

She's learning how to make bow ties for followers of the Nation of Islam. They like small, neat ties with a cardboard stiffener.


Carl Schoettler

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