Meet Judy Buchman, Our Featured Volunteer from New York!

27 Oct

Meet Judy Buchman, Our Featured Volunteer from New York!

Get to know our volunteers!

Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I volunteer at several different hospitals around New York City.

How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? Since 2011

Are you a volunteer guide or musician? Musician

What is your favorite song to play for patients? Glory of Love

Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? Yes. Actually, a tuba player, visiting a family member before his Broadway gig, took out his tuba and played along. Also, I have had many a singalong with patients and visitors when I sing Besame Mucho in Spanish.

Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? Yes. I am the lead singer in my blues band, The Fountain of Blues. We have performed at The Delancey. I also participate in a Sunday Bluegrass Jam [Paddy Reilly’s], and am involved in various synagogue, holiday and private events.

What is your occupation outside of MOC? Patent Prosecution Secretary for a law firm.

Do you have any hidden talents? I write humorous parody lyrics for holiday events. I have gotten positive feedback and some laughs 🙂 I also rock as a grandmother :).

What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? First of all, I love music. I started piano lessons at age 6, clarinet lessons (I wasn’t so good on the clarinet) in elementary school, and started guitar at 12. I was exposed to Broadway and classical music from a young age, and was fortunate to sing in semi-professional and professional choirs throughout my youth and adulthood. I studied music and theater in college overseas, and it is my main passion. There is always a song in my heart and in my head. Music is an essential part of our being—it comes naturally to us when we begin to speak. As life can be complex, with many joyous and challenging moments, I must say that music has been a tremendous inspiration as well as outlet for creativity. It also brings people together. I volunteer for several reasons, the main reason being to express gratitude. I am the survivor of a terrorist attack and feel I was fortunate to survive. So giving back, i.e, bringing relief and comfort to people hospitalized for whatever reason, reinforces my gratitude. Every time I walk out of the hospital, I feel gratitude. And if I brought joy to someone undergoing a difficult time, I feel uplifted. Additionally, visiting the infirm is a tradition I have been taught to embrace throughout my lifetime.

What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? Interacting with people musically is a very personal and joyous experience. If someone joins you on a song, or smiles with you, or taps a rhythm, it is a mutual experience. It is different from handing a package to someone, or placing a brief phone call for a cause. For the 3-4 minutes of a song, you really feel that you are undergoing a unique and personal experience. Sometimes you get a smile, or a laugh, or sometimes a tear…. sometimes quiet reflection, and sometimes rowdy applause. But you have shared a unique moment in time.

Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? Yes. The essence of the program is to bring comfort and hopefully joy. I am very attuned to the purpose of the program – – and I have also become attuned to “living the moment”, i.e., you may have sung a song 100 times, but each interaction may differ and your song may need to change under certain circumstances.

What is your favorite #MOCmoment? I have had many over the years. I wish to take this opportunity to thank Alan Kaye, who plays harmonica and has accompanied me on many programs. On one particular program, we played Autumn Leaves, and a woman, flat on her back, with tubes attached to her arms and obviously not able to move much, started singing the entire song in French… C’est une chanson, qui nous ressemble.. and it was perfect. We were in awe.

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

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