Meet Jude Gonzalez, our featured volunteer from Dallas!

17 Jul

Meet Jude Gonzalez, our featured volunteer from Dallas!

Get to know our volunteers!

Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I volunteer at Children’s Medical Center

How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? Since February of 2017

Are you a Volunteer Guide or Volunteer Musician? Musician

What is your favorite song to play for patients? That is a difficult question. There are three songs I tend to gravitate to in these settings and their names are ‘Shakespeare,’ ‘Day/Song #7’ and ‘Fi Fo Fum.’

Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? Not yet, but that sounds like a lot of fun. I have made up lyrics on the spot so I was actually singing to a boy about him and his planes and flying one day. There have been some impromptu seated dance sessions among family members, patients & giant teddy bears, however.

Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? I am very happy to say I am playing the ‘Til Midnight’ series at the Nasher Sculpture Center on August 18th. Otherwise, I play solo or duo shows on occasion at Ascension Coffee & ORNO. I’m taking more time the rest of this year to focus on recording more than live performances. However, if someone invites me to join a bill, I’m usually pretty inclined to say ‘yes.’

What is your occupation outside of MOC? I have been a licensed massage therapist for 10 years now. I also occasionally am employed as an assistant, an Uber driver, house/pet sitter, baby sitter & a painter.

Do you have any hidden talents? I think they all mostly came out of hiding, but I will say I’m pretty good at harmonizing with any melody throughout any song. Doing it for kicks has helped me grow as a singer. Otherwise, I can say my alphabet backwards in 6 seconds.

What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? I started singing oldies at an early age, inspired by my Mother who could belt out some serious Carol King & Diana Ross, as well as many others. It wasn’t until I was 11, that I started singing & writing my own music. For years, I would write a song every day, sometimes 2, 3, 4 or 5 on my Mother’s classical guitar. I did a year’s worth of piano lessons on the computer once in 10 days, but otherwise, I, unfortunately, had no kind of formal musical education or training. A dear friend told me to play with as many people as possible & that has been perhaps the best musical advice I’ve ever been given. In regards to ‘what’ connects me with music, I feel like music is actually what connects me with Life before Life connects me with music. I hear songs sometimes that make me feel like I’m watching a preview of my own life in memory-clothed glimpses. I volunteer with Musicians On Call because I know what it’s like to be sad, sick, alone, scared & in some hospital gown you never expected yourself to be wearing. I’ve been given the opportunity to help others cope in some small way. Music has helped me cope with some of the hardest times in my life so I see it as the perfect way to pay it forward. And yet, in paying it forward, all the joy is multiplied & I leave the hospital every time feeling like we are all better for it.

What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? I’ve really only volunteered at a retirement home doing hand massages, but it’s different in that I’m not walking around with a guitar. As a massage therapist, I can acknowledge that little hand massages are a sweet & personal gift, but not quite as personal or sweet as playing for a child at his or her bedside while slowly watching them brighten their own room in the presence of music.

Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? My life has definitely been blessed & enriched by my experiences with MOC this year. It’s humbling. It’s heartbreaking at times. It’s also a deluge of joy, gratitude & smiles when you get to experience & observe the healing power of Music at work in these hospital settings.

What is your favorite #MOCmoment? My favorite thus far is from my last visit to Children’s Medical Center. This little guy seemed pretty disgruntled & was facing the wall with his legos when we walked in the room. Halfway through the song, his little arms start to move. He begins to smile. Then, he turns around to face me & my volunteer guide while his parents are standing by overjoyed to be seeing their baby react like this. Towards the end of the song, I slow down into an arpeggio to create this ethereal little outro & the little one begins to sway back and forth and side to side while his eyes begin to partially close. It was so sweet & it made the day for all of us I’m pretty sure.

Do you want to help us deliver the healing power of music? Apply to volunteer as a guide or a musician today!

APPLY NOW