Nfld. & Labrador

It was this singer's first performance after cancer, and her surgeon was in the band

Julia Halfyard first met Dr. Doug Angel in a hospital examination room, but on Saturday, the pair met again on the stage.

He operated on her neck after she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer

Dr. Doug Angel and Julia Halfyard performed together at the Music is Medicine variety show at Holy Heart Theatre on Saturday. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Julia Halfyard first met Dr. Doug Angel in a hospital examination room, but on Saturday, the pair met again on the stage at the Holy Heart Theatre in St. John's.

Angel was part of the Flu Fighters house band that accompanied Halfyard as she sang as part of the Music is Medicine variety show fundraiser.

It was Halfyard's first big performance since Angel performed cancer surgery on her neck.

"About two years ago, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and Doug became my surgeon. The story is really neat because we both come from the MUN School of Music," she told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show

"He is a little younger than I am, but we had sort of a camaraderie there in the consult and I felt in really safe hands with him because he knew how important singing and my voice was to me ... He was extremely careful and mindful and compassionate."

Saturday night was Julia Halfyard's first big performance after having surgery for thyroid cancer about two years ago. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Angel said there was some concern for Halfyard's voice, as one of the risks of thyroid cancer surgery is possible injury to one of the nerves that moves your vocal chord. But after lots of work and recovery, Halfyard credits her piano-playing surgeon for her health and her healthy singing voice.

"It's just a beautiful thing to know that I'm singing well," she said.

"I'm singing, I feel like, at the top of my game and I feel very, very fortunate to have had such a skilled surgeon, but such a compassionate person minding my journey."

Reviving an old tradition

The charity variety show, which raised money for  A Dollar A Day and Team Broken Earth, also featured performances from Alan Doyle, the Dogberries with Mary Barry, Lady Cove Women's Choir and others

Angel, who studied piano performance, was joined in the house band by well-known musicians Sandy Morris, Scott Mansfield, Craig Follett and by fellow musician-physician Dr. Don Fitzpatrick.

Dr. Doug Angel majored in piano performance at MUN's School of Music before attending medical school. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

He said the show revives an old tradition of Memorial University's medical school to give those in the medical field an opportunity to display their talents and raise some money for a good cause.

"They did it for a number of years and I guess it just lost steam," he said.

"Over the last year — I'm a bit more of a junior physician, so they asked if we wanted to do it again, just to make it basically a revival of that exact show that happened 20 years ago." 

With files from the St. John's Morning Show and Anthony Germain

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