Pleasantville Music FestThe Examiner

Band of Doctors Brings Message of Healing and Hope to Their Audiences

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The alternative rock group N.E.D., short for No Evidence of Disease, to the Pleasantville Music Festival this Saturday. The band consists of five gynecologic oncologists, including lead female singer Dr. Gizelka David-West of Northern Westchester and Phelps hospitals.

Just because Dr. Gizelka David-West decided to go to medical school didn’t mean she had to give up her love of music or ending her days on stage in front of an audience.

David-West was from an artistic family and enrolled in New York City’s LaGuardia Performing Arts High School for her freshman and sophomore years. But then her family moved to North Carolina and David-West concentrated more on academic pursuits despite continuing to sing through medical school.

In 2019, four fellow gynecologic oncologists asked David-West to join their appropriately-named band N.E.D. (the acronym for No Evidence of Disease), after their former female lead singer left the group.

“I went and met them while they were performing in New York (City),” said David-West, a Yorktown resident who practices medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital and Phelps. “They had a few gigs planned for New York and D.C., so I joined them on the road, if you will – New York, D.C., Philly – and it was great. It was so much fun.”

The band, also comprised of John Boggess (guitar and vocals), Will Winter (lead guitar and background vocals), Bob Burger (bass) and Nimesh Nagarsheth (drums), who was the attending physician at Mount Sinai Hospital where David-West had her residency, will be taking the Main Stage at the Pleasantville Music Festival this Saturday. It will be an opportunity for not only David-West’s friends, family and fans to take in the performance, but some of her patients as well.

The group had originally formed in 2008 as a way to enhance wellness. David-West described the music as alternative rock, but not at all heavy.

“It’s really uplifting, pleasant,” she said. “There are some ballads that we have, some that are bluesy tunes, jazzy. What’s uplifting about it is kind of our message and what we’re celebrating.”

That message at their shows often includes testimonials and survivorship stories related to women’s cancer. Each year, they hold a fundraiser at The Cutting Room in Manhattan. For doctors who have to deal with some difficult issues when seeing their patients, their music provides hope and inspiration.

“It just brings an uplifting and positive vibe,” David-West said. “You come to any for our shows, there’s just so much joy and happiness around cancer. You think of cancer as gloomy and sad. Our music is upbeat, it’s got a nice bass to it, nice drums and you can really dance to it or just vibe to it, and I think that really brings that uplifting, healing, positive component to it.”

The doctors, who are scattered around the country, come together a few times a year for shows. The other members live in Oregon, North Carolina, Philadelphia and New Jersey, David-West said. But they are more than just colleagues who like to jam; they have had success in their musical careers.

N.E.D. released its self-titled debut album for Motema Music in 2009. Their second album, “Six Degrees” was recorded in 2011, followed by “Love & Pain” in 2016. The albums were produced by Grammy nominee Mario McNulty and were received with strong reviews.

In 2015, Spark Media released a full-length documentary film about the band and their unique story that was screened in Regal Cinemas around the country.

That talent will help them when the other members start arriving from their out-of-town destinations to rehearse all day on Friday. They’ve rented a studio in White Plains and should be ready to go when they take the stage at about 1:50 p.m. on Saturday.

“I think it will be good butterflies,” David-West said, noting the band performed at the Danbury Summer Concert Series last summer. “I think any performer will tell you the good nervousness, that kind of revs you up and gets you excited, and then when you hear that audience, see that audience, see the crowd, hear the cheers, it just adds to the positive energy. It just really makes the whole experience.”










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