Wellness Wednesdays

April 7, 2021


Music and Meditation 

In today’s Wellness Wednesday, Associate Concertmaster Timothy Jones and cellist Quinn Lake both join Holly to discuss the various ways relaxing, meditation, and focusing can enhance listening experiences.

Tim and Quinn compare methods and ideas and offer a unique way of approaching music and sounds that will bring balance and appreciation to your listening…whether it is active or passive listening. 

After the brief discussion, Tim and Quinn perform “Meditation” for violin and cello, by the opera composer, Massenet. This work comes from the opera, Thais, where the main character contemplates a decision she must make. 

The performance space where Tim and Quinn present “Meditation” is at Botanica. Photos during their performance are from the gardens at Botanica themselves! 

As we pause our Wellness Wednesday offerings to prepare for our upcoming WSO concert in Botanica on May 14th, and return to parks concerts the following month, we invite you to enjoy the past offerings as much as you wish. They are in no particular order, and all of them are tied together by the same goal: offering you a way to listen to music that may be different, helpful, and more intentional. 

Thank you all for joining us on this first journey of Wellness and music! 

Wellness Wednesdays are produced by Holly Mulcahy
WSO Concertmaster and Partner for Audience Engagement
Sponsored by The Trust Company of Kansas

Keep scrolling to see more Wellness Wednesday offerings! 

March 31, 2021

wellness wednesday offering no. 12

Our Own Soundscapes! (and baby goats!)

In today’s Wellness Wednesday we are joined by Wichita Symphony cellist, Susan Mayo. Susan lives in rural Kansas where she enjoys a variety of natural sounds along with her goats! 

Susan shares some insight on playing Bach for her baby goats, listening to nature sounds with deep focus, and she also shares some ideas for us all to listen to our own environment more intentionally. 

After our short conversation, we are sharing Susan’s new work for cello and nature sounds. There are sounds of owls, coyotes, goats, meadowlarks and many more. Susan has taken these sounds and “pitched” them, meaning, she has turned sound clips into samples and manipulated them into a new piece of art. The work is about 7 minutes total and quite interesting. 

Listening deeply is a practice that Susan shares, but it’s also an invitation for everyone to try it in their own environment. What do you hear right now, how does it make you feel, and can you add a sound that might make it even better? 

All of this intentional listening will absolutely enhance your experiences when we return to live performances. More on that next week!!

Check out Susan's Projects!

March 24, 2021


The Super Food of Music!

When we think of “super foods” we generally think of nutrient dense foods. These foods have healing and enriching qualities that help maintain a healthy life and a balanced wellbeing. 

While speaking about music that is nutrient dense, one piece came to our minds immediately: Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring. This piece weaves so many emotions and feelings throughout the 20+ minute work. It offers calm, peace, joy, energy, textures, colors, flavors, etc. All of that in one singular work. 

In today’s Wellness offering, we talk about the music and food analogy. Music Director Daniel Hege likens programming a concert to planning a dinner. Radio Kansas host, Katelyn Mattson-Levy calls Copland’s work a bowl of super foods. And Concertmaster Holly Mulcahy speaks of specific flavors and how sounds in music can reflect the certain flavors and tastes.

We asked Kelly Rae Leffel from Tanya’s Soup Kitchen to share a few thoughts about the mixing of flavors and nutrients in one of Tanya’s favorite soup recipes, which will be shared below!

After the brief discussions, the entire Appalachian Spring Suite will be shared. Since it’s just a sound file, we put various time-lapse videos to it, that may or may not enhance your experience. If you choose to turn the volume up and ignore the video, that’s just fine! There are no wrong answers!

As you think about the qualities of a super food and the qualities of this particular work of music, why not think of a few other works that you might consider, “the super food of music!”

  1. TSK Keto To-Go Soup: Spiced Chicken Ginger Stew

  2. 2tbl olive oil
  3. 2 garlic cloves minced
  4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 2 inches fresh ginger, grated (sub 2 tsp ground ginger)
  6. 1-inch fresh turmeric, grated (sub for 1 tsp ground turmeric)
  7. 1 diced onion
  8. 2 celery stalks, diced
  9. 1 bell pepper, diced
  10. 1 tsp ground cumin
  11. ½ tsp coriander
  12. ¼ tsp paprika
  13. ¼ tsp cinnamon
  14. Pinch of white pepper and cayenne
  15. Meat from 1 Roasted Chicken
  16. 2 cups ¼ inch cubed Butternut Squash
  17. 1 20 oz can diced tomatoes (I like to crush them by hand to break up a bit and release juices)
  18. 8-10 cups Chicken Stock
  19. 1 zucchini, quartered
  20. 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  21. 1 cup ¼ inch green beans
  22. Juice from 1 lemon
  23. 1 cup chopped kale; ribs removed
  24. ¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
  25. Salt and pepper to taste (I like using crushed red pepper flakes along with my black pepper)

Heat olive oil in stock pot, add cumin seed, fresh ginger, garlic, and turmeric (if using ground, wait to add along with other seasoning). This toasts the cumin seeds and brings out the aromatics of fresh ginger and turmeric. After a minute add onions, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add dry seasoning and sauté another minute, keep stirring or you could possibly burn your seasoning. Add meat, squash, diced tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until butternut squash is tender, add the remaining vegetables, except kale and cilantro, and simmer another 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the kale, lemon juice, and cilantro only moments before serving, keeping your ingredients nice and bright! Serve and enjoy! 

March 17, 2021


Poetry in Music

Today’s Wellness Wednesday offering is a short but sweet one. We are sharing a movement of Jennifer Higdon’s String Poetic: Nocturne for violin and piano. The movement is only about four and a half minutes, but within that time the listener can try many of the ideas offered from past Wellness Wednesdays.

Since we have started our Wellness Wednesday series, we have covered many topics to enhance your own wellness such as: how tension and release is used in music, how to use relaxation methods while listening to music, and how various moods can be supported or elevated with music. In one of our most recent ones, we shared a new term, Phenomenology, where the listener is encouraged to let the music inspire the imagination. 

There are no wrong ways to listen. So, if you wish, review some of the past offerings and then hit play on this one. See where the music takes you and see how it inspires or refreshes you! 

A review of offerings so far:

1. “Iso Principle” where music is found to match and reflect a mood and then another piece of music is introduced to help relieve that mood.

2. “Relaxation” Meg Beck, Our Music Therapist, introduced a technique of relaxing using music.

3. “Musical Weighted Blanket” Dr. Shannon Loeck shared some thoughts on feeling comforted and secure while listening to music. 

4. “The Journey of a Theme” Film composer George S. Clinton shares some thoughts on a theme of music used in different ways. 

5. “Tension and Release” Meg Beck returns and we talk about how tension and release enhance us mentally and physically.

6. “Let’s Whisk Ourselves Away” WSO clarinetist Rachelle Goter is inspired by a painting and pairs music with it.

7. “Feelings Then and Now” Dr. Loeck returns with some of her colleagues to talk about feelings from last year and linking those to music. 

8. “The Ebb and Flow” Radio Kansas host Katelyn Mattson-Levy and composer Alex Wakim join to share perspectives on music and how they change. Alex’s brand-new piece with that theme premieres in this one.

9. “Phenomenology!” WSO principal horn Jeb Wallace shares a technique of listening to music in a more personalized and fun way. 

March 10, 2021



Today’s offering comes with an invitation to try something new! Wichita Symphony’s Principal Horn player, Jeb Wallace, shares a different way to listen to music using a method he studied during his doctoral studies. 

Phenomenology (the study of the structures of experience and consciousness) with music sounds a bit intimidating but when Jeb breaks it down, it is downright fun! 

Along with Daniel Hege, Holly Mulcahy, and Tiffany Bell Rhodes, Jeb guides us all through a listening exercise which will focus your listening experience with a personalized method. 

Many of us have heard that listening to music can relax us, motivate us, or help us feel a certain way. But how can we do that and get the full benefit of it? After you watch the video and hear ways to listen, and listen to Jeb’s fantastic performance, try finding another piece of music to practice listening with a more personalized method! The tool kit below the video will be your guide!

Jeb's Phenomenology Tool Kit

March 3, 2021


The Ebb and Flow

This Wellness Wednesday offering looks at the immensely powerful feelings coming from Helplessness and Hopefulness. 

Radio Kansas host Katelyn Mattson-Levy shares her thoughts on how the oboe solo in Barber’s Violin Concerto became a grounding point for her. Also joining in this offering is Music Therapist, Meg Beck, who explains the importance of how music can be felt physically as she shares some impressions of today’s musical choices.

Similar, but also quite different in its own way is composer Alex Wakim’s brand new work which premieres at the end of this video. Alex composed and produced this work specifically for this Wellness Wednesday and Meg, Alex, and Katelyn speak briefly about how this new work offers similar feelings as the Barber did!

The video images that have been put to Alex’s three-minute work are of a melting frozen Lake Michigan in time-lapse from the view of downtown Chicago.

In an inclusive gesture, Alex has graciously invited listeners to send their ideas for a title. Share in either email or Facebook!

Katelyn's suggestion for today's offering

Barber Violin Concerto, 2nd Movement

More music by Alex Wakim

Dust and ions

On Spotify

On Amazon

February 24, 2021


Feelings and Music, Then and Now

This week’s wellness offering is led by psychiatrist Dr. Shannon Loeck who asked WSO Music Director Daniel Hege and WSO Concertmaster Holly Mulcahy to pick music that was filled with emotions we all may have felt early on in this pandemic: Anger, Frustration, Anxiety, and Fear.  She also asked for the reverse emotions to help us leave and resolve those negative feelings: Relief, Calm, and Openness.

Dr. Loeck mentioned that just about a year ago, many of us were feeling emotions we never felt before. And that alone can be weird! Comparing those emotions then and now by finding music that might define and/or identify feelings was the focus for this offering.

After Dr. Loeck gave Daniel and Holly their assignments, she invited three of her co-workers and residents to join in on a little experiment. First Holly and Daniel gave their descriptions of the works, and then the guests were brought in to see if they interpreted the music similarly. It’s an interesting way to acknowledge there are no wrong answers when listening to music!

While there are very short segments of music in this offering, we invite you to listen to the full links we’ve shared below. Ask yourself if they meet the emotions listed. Did the music represent your impressions of those feelings you might have felt a year ago?

Holly’s choice for Anger and Frustration

Shostakovich Symphony #8, 3rd Movement

Holly’s choice for Calm and Openness

Copland’s Rodeo, Saturday Night Waltz

Daniel’s choice for Fear and Anxiety

Prokofiev Cinderella Ballet, Midnight

Daniel’s choice for Relief

Mozart Clarinet Concerto, 2nd Movement

Medical/Health Disclaimer

February 17, 2021


Let's Whisk Ourselves Away!

Today’s Wellness offering is a fieldtrip to Mark Arts where a very special painting was chosen by our Wichita Symphony clarinetist, Rachelle Goter! Rachelle identified this art as something that took her to a beautiful spot, a place where her mind was calm and serene. The painting, by Randall Bennett titled ‘The Pemigewasset River,’ is a lush feast for the eyes and soul.  

Rachelle invited our music therapist in these Wellness offerings, Meg Beck, to share a Guided Looking Exercise. Meg invites the viewer to see the painting through a variety of perspectives; it is really amazing to experience!

After Meg guides us through the Looking Exercise, Rachelle then performs a piece, ‘Pagina d’album’ for clarinet and piano by composer Michele Magnani. Rachelle felt the music supported and reflected the feeling from the painting.

For more by composer Michele Magnani, check out:

CLICK HERE to view Meg’s Guided Looking Exercise.

We’d like to thank Mark Arts for sharing their space with this Wellness initiative. Check out their many programs and pieces of art, it’s a wonderful gallery to explore, get inspired, and find a new way of expressing your own wellness and self!

Additional thanks to Bridget Hille for her piano performance with Rachelle! 

February 10, 2021


Tension and Release….so satisfying!

Today’s offering is all about how music can bring you to the edge of your seat, keep you suspended, and then release you into a satisfying resolution. 

Our Music Therapist, Meg Beck, offers up a wonderful Progressive Relaxation Therapy exercise and then Music Director Daniel Hege gives the basics on how music uses tension and release, with examples right from his piano.

Daniel and Concertmaster Holly Mulcahy then offer a few of their favorite musical examples. There are so many wonderful examples in music, we might do a bonus edition of this offering if people want!

Daniel’s choices are: 

Tristan and Isolde, prelude; Daniel says: “Because of the silences between each of the unsettled chords, it keeps one in suspense, at least it does for me.....and this is one of the most important pieces ever written.”


Beethoven’s Symphony #3, first movement; Daniel says: “In the first movement, Beethoven is toying with the pulse, and even at 2:40 into this he starts to accent weak beats, then it builds to the “hammer blows” at 2:51. I think this YouTube recording is good because you can actually see what Beethoven is doing. He’s playing with your sense of equilibrium and teasing you with what he thinks you’ll anticipate, and then changes it. There’s another great rhythmic tension point at 5:25 before it finally irons itself out!”

Holly’s choices are:

Montagues and Capulets from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet; Holly says: “The chords that are built add tension by layering and increasing volume which gives way to the most tender, inward, quiet, and really showcases the extremes in tension and release.”


Nielsen Symphony #5, first movement into the second movement; Holly mentions, “The persistent snare drum builds and nags at you. It is relentless until the last few seconds of the first movement. The second movement opens with relief from that persistence in a warm and calming manner. If you’re short on time, start at around the 5-minute mark and stay with it through about the 11-minute mark. If you’ve got time for the whole symphony, you’ll hear all kinds of satisfying rhythmic tensions and releases!”


Extra reading suggestions from Meg Beck:

Stress Management: Doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

Relaxation Techniques: Try These Steps to Reduce Stress

February 3, 2021

Wellness Wednesday offering no. 4

The Journey of a Theme

One of the most amazing things about music is it affords us a variety of ways to digest it. We can hear the same music at different points in our lives and hear new meanings and interpretations each time.

Today Daniel Hege and Holly Mulcahy are talking about a piece of music our friend, Hollywood film composer George S. Clinton, wrote for Holly back in May. The solo violin work, titled Notes From Lockdown, was George’s own musical depiction of the variety of feelings many of us experienced early on in the pandemic. Fear, loneliness, anxiety, boredom, and euphoric/sporadic energy.

Several months after that piece was premiered over the Zoom platform, George began writing the Wichita Symphony a six-movement suite inspired by Wichita’s Old Cowtown Museum, aptly titled Old Cowtown Suite.

The final movement of that work painted a music image of Rosie, the only cow in Cowtown! As George imagined Rosie in her stall, he recalled the main themes from his Notes From Lockdown and borrowed the themes to depict a different set of feelings.

In today’s offering George discusses his various viewpoints of both works that share the same theme, and how that is a kind of empowering metaphor for us all to realize. Within today’s chat, we will share samples of Notes From Lockdown, and a preview of the upcoming Old Cowtown Suite. The entire Notes From Lockdown will be at the very end of the video!

As we introduced the Iso Principle in our first offering, we are sharing a few of George’s soundtracks to listen to in an intentional way. As you listen to them, ask yourself: do they match and support your feelings? Do they bring up images or feelings? Can you imagine different images from your original thoughts? There are no wrong answers, just empowering ways to listen! Enjoy!

Selections from Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, George S. Clinton



January 27, 2021

Wellness Wednesday offering no. 3

Musical Weighted Blanket!

The weighted blanket is something that offers security, comfort, and calm….at least for most! With those words in mind, today we discuss what our musical version of the weighted blanket might be! Daniel and Holly pick two choices each, and share why those pieces are so special to them.

Joining Daniel and Holly is psychiatrist Dr. Shannon Loeck who explains a few of the effects of a weighted blanket and what else might bring comfort or calm to an individual. Her suggestions, along with Daniel and Holly’s musical ‘weighted blankets’ will hopefully bring calm and comfort your way!

Shared below are four Youtube selections that are referenced in today’s Wednesday Wellness offering, and after that are two longer lists of pieces Daniel and Holly recommend.

If you discover one or two of these works really makes you feel calm and brings you comfort, be sure to share with your friends and family. Nothing is more lovely to receive than a suggestion of beauty and comfort with someone’s wellbeing in mind!

Holly's Top Picks

Brahms Symphony No. 1, Movement 3

Sibelius Suite for Violin and Strings

Daniel's Top Picks

Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5, Movement 2

J.S. Bach Goldenberg Variations, performed by Glenn Gould

Daniel's Top 10

HELPFUL HINT: Copy any paste any of these into Google Search or YouTube to find recordings.

  1. Holly's Top 10

  2. HELPFUL HINT: Copy any paste any of these into Google Search or YouTube to find recordings.

From Dr. Shannon Loeck: Scholarly Articles Related to Music Therapy, Weighted Blankets and other Sensory Therapy

Article Sources Medical/Health Disclaimer

January 20, 2021

Wellness Wednesday offering no. 2

Today’s short offering involves a music therapy technique and relaxation exercise. Music Therapist, Meg Beck, offers a few brief focus points to consider as we listen and watch the video.

These relaxation and visualization techniques can be used by listening to other pieces of music. So if today’s offering doesn’t gel with you, not to worry. Take the idea and adjust to your needs!

Meg’s guidance while watching and listening today:

Meg offers four additional pieces that work well with this technique. Listen to them and see what brings you the best relaxation. Meanwhile, add to your journal what music works best for you. And, like Meg says, keep practicing this technique.

Meg’s suggestions below will give you a good start and hopefully lead you into discovering even more relaxing music in your life.

Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel for cello and piano


J.S. Bach's Sonata in E Minor for Flute, third movement


Erik Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1 for piano


Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2, third movement, "Adagio"

January 13, 2021

Wellness Wednesday offering no. 1

Before we start, we'd like to invite everyone to keep their own notebook. This is a great way to personalize your experiences and take notes on the music you discover along the way! We'll be sharing a wide variety of music these next several weeks and it will be beneficial to keep track of how the music touched or enhanced your lives.

Our first week's offering is a term and exercise used by music therapists. The "Iso Principle" is a technique by which music is matched with the mood of a client, then gradually altered to affect the desired mood state. Today, Daniel and Holly talk about this concept and share their music selections and why.

After you've watched the video of Holly and Daniel, and have listened to the selections, take this Iso Principle thought throughout your week. Notice how music supports your feelings, or contrasts them. It's an interesting awareness to have and will enhance how you listen to music.

Holly's Iso Principle Choice

Holly takes the exhilarating emotion from the adrenaline-filled 2nd movement of Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony...


Daniel's Iso Principle Choice

Daniel starts from the 4th movement to the 5th movement of Schumann's Symphony No. 3. The 4th movement begins with grief, loss, and continues in a general path of inner tumult, with brief moments of respites from brass fanfares only to return to strife. The movement edges towards peaceful resolution. Then, the 5th movement begins, brimming with optimism and hope. The 4th movement starts at 22:55, and the 5th starts at 28:34:

Iso Principle Articles

Music Therapy Time 

Let's Talk about the Iso Principle: The Introduction

Central Ohio Music Therapy

The Evolution of the Iso Principle in Music Therapy and Music Listening

Coming Soon...

Wellness Wednesdays with the WSO

Welcome to Wellness with the Wichita Symphony! Each week, starting this Wednesday, we will be sharing an offering similar to the weekly Wichita Symphony Zoom Recital Series, but with a different focus. There will be musical offerings, some chats and interviews, as well as some special points to ponder. We hope you look forward to each week’s new discoveries and enjoy and learn how music can affect you in positive and helpful ways.

The goal is to offer solace, a place to pause, and a point to breathe and hopefully something interesting to think about. While each week’s offering will stay archived on the WSO webpage, we are encouraging everyone to keep a notebook so personal notes on discoveries and music can be personalized. Advising and guiding along this journey are Meg Beck, MME, Music Therapist of Larksfield Place Retirement Communities, Inc., Dr. Shannon Loeck, KU-Wichita Psychiatrist and Emergency Psychiatry Liaison to Ascension Via Christi, and Dr. James Vayda, Assistant Director Ascension/Via Christi ER. Our music director, Daniel Hege and concertmaster, Holly Mulcahy will be curating and developing the music and conversation.