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The Debut of Dr. Jacob Langer’s New Album “Return”

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Jacob Langer performing with his wife Ferne and his children, Jessica, Ben and Alexander

On a cold weeknight at the end of September, Hugh’s room, an iconic Torontonian live music venue, was filled to capacity. Guests were there to listen to a CD release from a unique and one-of-a-kind performer … Dr. Jacob Langer. As the lights came on, the world-renowned pediatric surgeon and past chief of pediatric surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children hit the stage to a roaring applause to debut his original album “Return.”

The night was filled with great music, laughs, and a heartwarming glance into Langer’s life. Langer and his band successfully delivered an inspiring performance that hit on the very core of folk music. What’s more, Langer’s wife Ferne and his children, Jessica, Ben and Alexander performed with him for the opening songs, making it clear that his passion for music was a family affair. The finale in particular, a song called “Someday,” moved the crowd to tears. The song was sung as a duet by both Jack and Ferne and was written as a tribute to their 25th wedding anniversary.

Langer’s passion for music emerged as a teenager. He was actively involved in writing and performing music throughout high school, college, and medical school. But his musical aspirations were put on the back burner once he started general surgery residency. Now, after years as a distinguished pediatric surgeon, some much-needed time off has given Langer the opportunity to discover his love for music once again. “When I decided to take a six month sabbatical in January 2014, I had a lot of time and I reconnected with the music that had been so important to me when I was younger,” Langer remarks.

And the transition from surgeon to musician late in one’s career couldn’t have been an easy task. “It’s remarkable that someone so incredibly skilled can also do things like create an original album at this stage in their career, as if it’s not enough to save babies lives,” remarks Tim Whatley, Langer’s son-in-law.

For Langer, it was all worth it. “The making of this CD has been an amazing journey and it is an achievement that is completely different from my professional work,” he remarks.

Furthermore, Langer believes that the challenge of creating an original album has pushed him in ways that he never experienced during his surgical career. “I’ve learned a whole new set of skills and the challenge of taking this project from start to finish has been extremely exciting. In a way this project has allowed me to use my right brain while my surgical career has involved my left brain and the ability to diversify my activities has been invigorating,” Langer says.

When asked about some final words of wisdom, Langer says, “I believe that we should all be diversifying ourselves, especially as we get closer to retirement, as I am.”

A true inspiration to us all.

Dr. Langer’s CD “Return” is available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, and CDBABY. You can learn more about the CD and the musicians at www.jacoblangermusic.com

Chethan Sathya, PGY-5, General Surgery, University of Toronto


[Ed’s note: Dr. Chethan Sathya is a journalist and surgical resident at the University of Toronto. He completed the Fellowship in Global Journalism at the Munk School of Global Affairs and has published pieces for CNN, CBC, and Scientific American.

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