Get to know our volunteers!
Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I volunteer at Phoenix VA Medical Center
How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? A little over a year (since October 2017)
Are you a volunteer guide or musician? Musician
What is your favorite song to play for patients? My favorite song to play for patients is “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. My grandfather was the one who got me into music and inspired me to start volunteering with MOC, and he used to sing “Wonderful Tonight” to my grandmother. It is a very beautiful song that reminds me of my grandfather and always makes the patients happy.
Have you been a part of an impromptu jam session? Yes! After requesting that I play “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, a patient pulled up the lyrics on his phone and sang harmonies. His beautiful voice and impressive ability to sing all the harmonies by ear made the jam sesh a very fun and memorable experience.
Do you perform anywhere else besides MOC? I perform at multiple local restaurants and hotel venues around Phoenix and Scottsdale.
What is your occupation outside of MOC? I am a high school senior!
What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? My grandfather is the one who first introduced me to music. When I was a little kid, he used to sing and play for me on his grand piano and taught me to play songs like “Chopsticks.” Since then, I have fallen in love with music and enjoy singing and playing guitar. In the summer of 2017, my grandfather was diagnosed with metastatic brain cancer and was moved into a hospice facility. Every day, I visited him in hospice to sing and play guitar at his bedside. As my family joined in singing his favorite songs, our sadness was temporarily alleviated, and everyone in the room was joined together by the healing music. After my grandfather passed away at the end of the week, I sought an outlet through which I could replicate the remarkable impact of my music on those inside the hospice center. My search led me to Musicians on Call, where I now play for patients at the Phoenix VA Medical Center.
What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? My volunteer work with Musicians On Call is far more meaningful to me than other volunteer experiences. Through MOC, I am given the unique opportunity to enhance other people’s lives through music that is not usually possible through other community service programs.
Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? My life has definitely been enhanced by Musicians On Call. The incredible power of music that I have witnessed during MOC programs has made music much more meaningful to me, and I have loved being able to use music to help people. In addition, MOC has helped me build my confidence as a musician. It was not until I had played at the VA multiple times that I was able to build up the courage to perform at restaurants and other venues.
What is your favorite #MOCmoment?During my first ever program at the Phoenix VA, the volunteer guide stopped me outside a patient’s room to inform me that the patient was unresponsive and would most likely show no physical recognition of my music, but that he would enjoy it nonetheless. We then entered the room, in which the patient was being visited by a few family members. The patient’s son requested that I play “Your Song” by Elton John, an old favorite of his father’s. When I started to play, the man sat up straight in his chair and looked directly at me, a huge smile spreading across his face. His grin remained throughout the entire song, and the patient even managed to clap after I finished playing! The man’s son thanked me for playing, informing me that it was the happiest he had seen his father in a very long time. I left the room with tears in my eyes, completely stunned by this firsthand glimpse of the incredible power of music.