Get to know our volunteers!
How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? Just over one year
Are you a Volunteer Guide or Volunteer Musician? Musician
What is your favorite song to play for patients? It’s such a privilege to play my original songs for patients. They really seem to look forward to the new music I create. In fact, they inspire it! My favorite quote from the patients is, “Ahh that’s so nice, now who wrote that?” Truly, the kindest compliment…especially when I get to tell them it was me.
Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? Here at the VA in Phoenix, we’ve had some great jam sessions! Once a patient brought out his harmonica collection and improvised along with a couple songs! We had a song circle of about four or five folks groovin’ along in the hallway! No one wanted it to end. Those precious moments…priceless!
Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? I’ve gotten to create and perform original music for The Art & Science of Emotional Intelligence at the Shemer Center gallery. I’ve played the Arizona State Fair. I also play at local restaurants and venues around Arizona.
What is your occupation outside of MOC? Since 1999 I’ve practiced Speech-Language Pathology here in Phoenix. It’s a terrific foundation for my songwriting in so many ways. Having treated patients in the hospital for many years, I hope to bring some depth of understanding for their experience to my musical visits. A healing vibe is threaded through the songs I play; and I try to bring an uplifting, peaceful, open-hearted sense of hope and compassion to this very special audience.
Do you have any hidden talents? In my past living back East, I was a formula race car driver in Canada one summer and landed a six foot bull shark deep sea fishing while living in New York City. I’ve also been scuba diving with sharks and stingrays in the Caribbean. After moving to Arizona, I discovered my talents for music and writing. My recent hidden talents include improvisational cooking and creative parenting of my two teenage daughters. I look forward to discovering more and more!!
What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? Since my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease over 25 years ago, my path to this experience with Musicians on Call, has been rising up to meet my feet each step of the way. At that time, I lived in New York City, wild times in the West Village, Kenny’s Castaways, The Bitter End, music was my salvation and I was an avid listener, club goer, concert goer…Paul Simon in Central Park—James Taylor at Waterloo – Crosby Stills Nash, AND Young at Madison Square Garden… Not to mention all the stadium shows, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan…remember the Travelling Wilburys. These are just a drop in the bucket of my musical well. Which really helped me connect with the pain and the power of being human and how music can be a comfort but also cathartic in the process of healing and hoping. So then I tried adulting for a while, completed a few Master’s degrees, traveled, learned, worked, lived, loved, lost and learned some more. Eventually, the work that chose me was therapy. For a while I was a recreational therapist, then explored speech-language pathology to delve into that therapy. As fate would have it, my move across the country to Phoenix began my career as a Speech-Language Pathologist and I’ve enjoyed 18 years serving patients in hospitals and in their homes as such. Helping others develop and regain their power of self-expression and voice, motivated me to develop my own expression and voice through writing and music. Having some auto-immune health issues myself, I understand how important self-compassion is for healing and music is part of that for me. Sharing my journey through my music helps me feel more connected, hopeful, and helpful. So for me music has always held a healing vibration and has resonated very deeply in my heart.
What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? Here in Phoenix, we have the most amazing community of MOC volunteers. Not only are they all radically compassionate and dedicated to spreading the Healing Power of Music…we have been able to collaborate creatively. November 2017 I believe, we will be releasing our first recording, which is a compilation of original music created and performed by our volunteer musicians…recorded and produced on our own time and dime. We are truly a community of pioneers here in the southwest for Musicians on Call. It’s a beautiful thing to get to be a little part of that.
Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? My life is unfolding in really extraordinary ways thanks to my experience with MOC. I get to connect with my audience deeply and in a very meaningful way when I perform for MOC. That experience, for me, is the muse, inspiring me to expand my songwriting and performance abilities each time I return. The MOC community here in Phoenix, is a beautiful collective of creative human beings I’m honored to call friends!! I have learned so much from each of them about music, recording, listening, and life. My social circle has definitely opened up since coming together with these terrific folks!!
What is your favorite #MOCmoment? Last year during the holidays was very special. It’s hard to be a patient in the hospital at that time of year, and I feel a lot of compassion around that. It was such an honor to share a glimmer of light, and a song and love – truly my pleasure, and I never felt more appreciated by an audience. I recall one gentleman wiping a tear in the dining room…another patient that evening got out of his wheelchair to thank me.