Dr. Rodney Brenneman performs the National Anthem at the July 1 Lancaster Barnstormers game.
Rodney E. Brenneman, M.D., has performed a lot of surgeries.
But in recent years, the busy orthopedic surgeon and father of three had stopped performing on a stage.
Dr. Brenneman, a joint replacement surgeon at Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster, started playing music and singing in middle school. The hiatus he’d taken since medical school ended when physician assistant Hope Weber encouraged him to try out to sing the National Anthem at a Lancaster Barnstormers game.
“I hadn’t done anything musically in front of anybody for a long time,” he said. “Hope had never actually heard me sing. At first I laughed, but then I thought it would be fun.”
Dr. Brenneman nailed the audition, leading to a gig at the July 1 Barnstormers game. His audition tape also impressed the CEO of the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team, who invited him to sing the anthem before the team’s May game vs. Ireland.
“Both were great experiences,” he said. “This definitely sparked my interest in getting back into music.”
While growing up in Virginia, Dr. Brenneman played piano, guitar, bass guitar, mandolin and trumpet, and sang in numerous choirs. After high school, he embarked on a nontraditional path to medical school, including three years as a missionary in 12 European countries, followed by a job in construction.
“I realized I was probably going to seriously injure or disable myself on the job,” he said. “I did OK in school, so I thought I should probably go back.”
Dr. Brenneman studied Bible and music at Eastern Mennonite University. Then he had shoulder surgery and decided to be a physical therapist.
“Then I thought, No, I’m a fix-it guy, and I’m going to be a surgeon,” he said.
He put music on hold during medical school at Penn State, picking up an instrument and singing for the first time in 10 years during his residency graduation, when he performed his own spin on a country classic, “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to do Ortho.”
Dr. Brenneman, who joined OAL in 2014 and is now Vice President, also serves as director of LGH’s Geriatric Fracture Program, Chair of the Quality Committee for the LG Health Community Care Collaborative ACO and on the Board of Directors for the Clinically Integrated Network.
When he isn’t busy working or spending time with his wife Michele and their three daughters, ages 9, 6 and 4, he enjoys riding anything with wheels, including mountain and road bikes, a motorcycle and another childhood hobby, a unicycle.
Although Dr. Brenneman hadn’t ridden a unicycle in 30 years, he recently bought one with the goal to ride around the neighborhood with his girls.
“I can get halfway around the neighborhood without falling off, and it’s not a small neighborhood,” he said. “I’ve had many falls, but none at high speed.”
He certainly gets a lot of funny looks from the neighbors.
No matter what he’s riding, he always wears a helmet. He is an orthopedic surgeon, after all.