Meet Ken Wenzel, our featured volunteer from Washington, D.C!

25 Apr

Meet Ken Wenzel, our featured volunteer from Washington, D.C!

Get to know our volunteers!

 

Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? At least 5 years?

Are you a Volunteer Guide or Volunteer Musician? Musician

What is your favorite song to play for patients? I tailor my song choices differently for each patient. I try to read their mood, as well as any other visitors or family who may be in the room, and pick a song based on what I sense. Also, I don’t repeat songs from room to room – that way each patient gets a new song, and a unique performance experience from me.

Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? Yes, on what used to be the Wounded Warrior floor. A soldier jammed with me on a signed Marting guitar given to him by John Mayer.

Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? Occasionally, Virginia Hospital Center, and also Vanderbilt Hospital.

What is your occupation outside of MOC? I’m a full-time musician. I’m a singer/songwriter, saxophonist, and bandleader.

Do you have any hidden talents? My friends tell me I am a master food-customizer. Whatever that means. Also, I’m learning to paint.

What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? I’ve been a performing musician since I was a kid, so when I was approached to help launch the MOC program at Walter Reed, I jumped at the chance. It’s great to be reminded of the power that music holds to affect and move people. I really like the honesty and purity of performing bedside – there’s no excuses and no agendas. It’s you, a guitar, and a song. And a listener who, if just for a moment, would like to forget that they’re in a hospital bed. I do my best to help them do that.

What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? MOC is my main volunteer platform. It’s always inspiring to meet and perform for our nation’s veterans.

Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? MOC reminded me why I started playing music in the first place.

What is your favorite #MOCmoment? Honestly, the most powerful moments I’ve had with patients are best kept private. But jamming with a soldier was one. I’ll tell you, the strength that I’ve seen soldiers display, while obviously in tremendous pain, fresh off the front lines (back in 2011, when the war was still happening) was unbelievably humbling and moving.

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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