A Dentist Plays Swing

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Peter Thomas mixes music and medicine

By Mike Bisceglia

Seacoast Scene, May 7-13, 2015

[The following article is courtesy of the Seacoast Scene]

Peter ThomasHAMPTON - A true Renaissance man must possess an amazing array of skills in several arenas unrelated to one another. Moreover, that man must actually put those skills to frequent use. Based on that definition, Dr. Peter Thomas just may qualify as a 21st century Renaissance man.

Born in Moorestown, NJ, Thomas was drawn to the service arena because of the example set by his parents, both of whom were teachers.

"My folks were very active in church and community activities, so it seemed only natural for me to have an interest in my community.  A person just can't live in a community without seeing the needs and attempting to address them."

After high school, Thomas opted to attend Dartmouth University. He had his sights set on a career in surgery and was due to accept a practical work experience in that arena, when an eleventh hour move at the statehouse canceled that program.

"There was no other option; I went into the Tufts Dental School. I never regretted one minute of it."

While at Tufts, Thomas had the occasion to spend a relaxing weekend at Hampton Beach.

"For me, it was love at first sight. I just couldn't image living and working any place else. Amazingly, I had an opportunity to work with Dr. Stewart Barr. He had a practice on Park Avenue. I jumped at the chance!  My life here is everything I imagined it would. I can't say enough good about the people and the setting. I'm truly blessed to be living here on the coast."

In addition to his dental skills, Thomas is also skilled in the world of music.

"I began playing the trumpet in the fifth grade. I guess I found over the years that music satisfied the left side of my brain, and that dentistry worked well with the right."

Presently, Thomas plays with two regional groups: the New Legacy Swing Band and the Blue Notes.

"I think I'm drawn to music of the Swing Era, because my dad just didn't think music after that period had any worth. I'm not sure about that, but I do know that every time I hear Tommy Dorsey's "Sentimental Over You," I get a bit choked up. It was my dad's favorite song."

In addition to his finesse with the trombone, Thomas lends his voice to Journey Song, a group of coastal volunteers that provides solace and comfort at the end of life through the special medium of music.

Utilizing his professional skills, Dr. Thomas works through Dentists with a Heart to offer free assistance to those in need.  When the call goes out, Dr. Thomas works with other physicians to provide assistance in disaster-stricken areas. He and other regional physicians have provided assistance in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In addition, he has also been involved in medical programs in Haiti and Jamaica.

When asked about his personal philosophy of life, Dr. Thomas replied, "I move when I sing. I sing because I am moved. The world brings me joy, and I believe I have an obligation to try to bring joy to the world. It's as simple as that."

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