UK Family Doctor Gives Back, Stays Grounded through Music

On the morning of Dec. 16, Dr. Shannon Voogt warmed up her classically trained opera voice before coming to work at UK HealthCare.

At 11 a.m., she applied resin to the bow of her violin in the Pavilion A lobby of the UK Chandler Hospital. Moments later, an audience of patients, employees and hospital visitors circled around the atrium lobby as Voogt, a soprano, showed off her vocal range performing "O Holy Night."

A family physician in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine's Department of Family and Community Medicine, Voogt has dedicated more time in her busy schedule to pursuing — and sharing — her love of music. She started playing the violin at age 3 and taking voice lessons at age 13.

While earning her medical degree from Michigan State University, she studied opera with an instructor, singing every day and eventually recording a CD. While starting her own family and finishing her residency at UK, she struggled to find time to seriously pursue music. In the past year, and with opportunities to volunteer with the UK Arts in HealthCare program, Voogt has returned to opera and musical performance.

"Over the past year, I have started practicing again, and it's been so rewarding," Voogt said. "No matter how stressed out I am, singing opera completely focuses me — I have to think about the notes, my breath support, relaxing my body, the line, the words, the translation. It's very meditative."

As a volunteer with the UK Arts in HealthCare program, Voogt integrates her musical gifts with her profession. During two holiday performances on Dec. 11 and Dec. 16, Voogt performed several traditional Christmas songs with accompaniment from volunteer pianist Daniel Porter. Their selection of music included "The First Noel," "O Holy Night" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

"I started singing at UK because I thought it would be a nice way to give back — to give passers-by something nice to listen to and also sneak in some practice for my voice on busy days at work." 

Voogt will perform a free holiday opera concert at First Alliance Church at 2201 Old Higbee Mill Road at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20.