The Upstate Beat: Free health clinic for musicians on Sundays at Caffe Lena

When Saratoga Springs blues duo Mark and Jill first traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to compete in the International Blues Challenge, singer Jill Burnham focused on more than blues and barbecue.

A nurse at Saratoga Hospital at her “day” job, Burnham admired how the Memphis festival had a pop-up health clinic sponsored by the Blues Foundation’s Handy Artists Relief Trust Fund, which helps blues musicians and their families deal with health issues. problems and related financial matters.

Burnham volunteered as a doctor at the Memphis clinic, which drew musicians from several hours away for their annual health check-ups. “I thought, ‘Gosh, I think we have a lot of musicians in the Capital Region, and I’d like to help provide routine health screenings and wellness education to my community and colleagues in the music community,'” she says.

Burnham’s vision comes true this weekend when her free Musician’s Health and Wellness Day takes place at Caffè Lena. The event for uninsured and underinsured musicians, Sunday (Oct. 23) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is supported by Saratoga Hospital Community Health Center, Hudson Headwaters Health Network and Caffè Lena.

Burnham hopes the free clinic will fill an important need for local musicians who often struggle to get affordable health care. “As an RN, it was obvious to me that access to health care is a problem for many Americans for many different reasons,” she says.

“During the COVID shutdown, I realized that many musicians and other self-employed entrepreneurs did not have access to the resources available to people employed through larger organizations and corporations.”

Musicians can simply show up at the clinic, although pre-registration at is recommended.

The first 40 people to register receive free personalized on-stage hearing protection earplugs. The wellness day also offers blood pressure screening, nutritionist consultation, HEP-C/HIV screening, Thai Chi class for musicians, colorectal cancer screening kits, Narcan kits and aftercare information.

A Health Insurance Navigator will be available for people who want help accessing affordable health insurance options.

“I hope to build a community and give musicians in this region access to basic routine checkups and health care options they may not know they have, so they can continue to bring us their music for many years to come.” says Burnham. “We hope to do this again in the future if we have a good turnout and find there is a need in our community.”

The week ahead

— Philadelphia’s Ghost Light, known for trippy improvisational songs performed in “glorious syncopation,” leads the Healing Tour at Lark Hall (351 Hudson Ave., Albany) Friday, 8 p.m.
— Welsh alt-rock trio Joy Formidable returns to Hollow Bar and Kitchen (79 N. Pearl St, Albany), where the band performed a well-received show in 2019. Friday, 8 p.m.
— Twiddle co-founder and Vermont guitarist Mihaly promises reggae spirit, fluid soundscapes and chanted mantras Saturday at Putnam Place (63a Putnam Street, Saratoga Springs). 9 in the evening
— Master storyteller Said Cleaves visits Linda’s WAMC Performing Arts Studio (339 Central Avenue, Albany) on Sunday. 7 in the evening
— Los Angeles duo No Age embodies the spirit of early independent punk and hardcore; catch the band at No Fun (275 River Street, Troy) on Sunday. With Godcaster, Syko Friend and Sunbloc. 7 in the evening
Contact Kirsten Ferguson at [email protected]

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Categories: Entertainment, Life & Arts, Life & Arts

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