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Annual Meeting
Don't Forget to Pack List of Your Favorite Songs
Psychiatric News
Volume 42 Number 9 page 22-22
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Psychiatrist Ed Siegel, M.D., performed last year at the Museum of the City of New York in honor of Freud's 150th birthday. 

Credit: Ed Siegel, M.D.

If you find an APA annual meeting especially to your liking when there's festive music in the air, then you must attend the San Diego Psychiatric Society's reception and dinner that will be held in conjunction with this year's annual meeting.

The reception and dinner will take place on Wednesday, May 23, on the U.S.S. Midway San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum (Psychiatric News, February 16). Ed Siegel, M.D., an associate clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego, and a gifted pianist, will be entertaining guests as part of the program.

He will also be open to playing whatever songs people want to hear and will encourage them to sing along. "I really lucked out," he chuckled during a recent interview. "I can play anything, in any key. It is just a part of me."

Indeed, Siegel has already enlivened some past APA annual meetings with his savoir faire and musical talents. At the 1997 annual meeting, for example, he served as the meeting's first chair of musical events. He had four different bands playing in the convention center. He also played the piano himself, took requests for songs, and held a singalong session.

In 2005 he appeared on t he "Today Show" because he had come up with the idea of lowering the key to the "Star Spangled Banner" so that Americans could actually hit the high notes. Then, last year, he gave a piano performance at the Museum of the City of New York in honor of Freud's 150th birthday. He played some of the songs particularly pertinent to psychiatry such as "Getting to Know You" and "The Impossible Dream."

During the past 20 years, Siegel has likewise fostered cross-generational public sing-alongs in the Solana Beach, Calif. community center. "When I was a kid," he said, "everyone liked the same music." Today, he said, Americans of different generations rarely come together to sing together unless it's during the holidays.

In a sense, Siegel was already prepping for his forthcoming piano entertainment on the U.S.S. Midway when he was a very young boy. "It turns out that when I was only three and a half," he recalled, "I heard a song on the radio that I couldn't get out of my mind. There was a piano in my preschool, and I went over and picked out the tune, and I think that, if you want to think about it biologically, my fingers learned how to play the same way that my tongue knows where to go."

He also loved watching Arthur Rubenstein's dramatic piano performances." In fact, here is one of his favorite memories from that period: "I would take a pair of pants and tuck them into the back of my pants, and then it would look as if I were wearing tails, and I would hold little concerts at home, with my sister shining a light on me."

Where did Siegel get his musical talent? "My father always claimed that I got it from him because he loved music," Siegel said, "and my mother never contested that. But recently I found out that my 93-year-old mother also has musical talent. She can whistle with perfect pitch."

The San Diego Psychiatric Society's reception and dinner will be held 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23. The museum is located about a mile from the San Diego Convention Center at 910 North Harbor Drive. Reservations can be made by calling Paula Marguiles, executive director of the San Diego Psychiatric Society, at (858) 279-4586.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Psychiatrist Ed Siegel, M.D., performed last year at the Museum of the City of New York in honor of Freud's 150th birthday. 

Credit: Ed Siegel, M.D.

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