Meet Rick Duarte, Our Featured Volunteer from Las Vegas!

02 Jul

Meet Rick Duarte, Our Featured Volunteer from Las Vegas!

Get to know our volunteers!

Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I volunteer at Sunrise Hospital.

How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? I have been volunteering for six months.

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 Here Comes the Sun.

Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? Yes!

Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? Yes, I perform on various stages in Las Vegas. I work with Boyd Gaming, Stations Casinos, MGM Resorts properties regularly and do many corporate and private events.

What is your occupation outside of MOC? Professional musician and owner of Frequency Entertainment here in Las Vegas booking artists for events and venues.

Do you have any hidden talents? Painting abstract art!

What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? I had been called upon to play by family and friends at funerals and hospices over the years and it was always a fulfilling experience. In my heart, I knew I could and should do more to be connected to those that need a smile during tough times. I witnessed so many times how the gift of music heals a heart in need. I knew if I could, I would. I saw a post from my dear colleague and friend, Nick Mattera, describing his experience with MOC and I jumped immediately at the opportunity to get involved. MOC had already laid the foundation to what could be tricky. I reached out to Rachel Aron and was welcomed with open arms to participate. She made it easy for me to jump into this amazing bedside performance program. Each time I perform for a patient, staff or family member, I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve with song. I realize how special music is and the significance of its healing power. Every interaction is different. The range of emotions felt is so broad and enveloping. It really connects me to my humanity. I know that someday I’ll be in need and will welcome such a gift from another. It’s the smiles, the tears, the laughter that touch my heart. One of the deepest and most meaningful performances was for a nonverbal patient, in a lot of pain, near the end it seemed. He was suffering greatly. The guide and staff pointed me to the room and said, “He can hear you, he’s in there.” So I played ‘Here Comes the Sun’. He began to tap his fingers in time with my every strum. He struggled to open one eye and at that moment, the entire staff of 6 behind me started to weep with joy and compassion. I choked on the lump in my throat as I stayed as present as possible to continue the song with all my being. I thanked him and exited the room. I lost it. I wept with the staff for a moment. Not in sadness, but in compassion and reverence for the power of music, the power of love and human kindness, the struggle of being mortal and the divine nature of our collective hearts to be together. I took a few minutes to reset my frame and continued on with my guide. Let me say this, the guides have a special calling and their function is key to helping me keep my frame of heart and mind to serve. They are angels! This program changes hearts and lives. I’m so blessed to be aligned with this amazing organization. It makes a difference for not only those it serves but those that provide the service.

What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? What makes MOC different is that the interaction is so personal and both me and the patients are so vulnerable and honest in the moment. No one wants to be in the hospital. It’s a place we look to for healing. Some find it, and some just manage conditions beyond their control, trusting their lives to the hands and hearts of other fellow human beings to do their best.

Has your life changed because of your experience with Musicians On Call? My life has changed greatly as a result of being a part of MOC. I get something valuable every time I serve. It cements my gratitude for health and humanity.

What is your favorite #MOCmoment? Standing outside the hospital with my guide to take a photo, after having served special people in less than desirable circumstances, knowing that I did my best that day to be of service. My heart was touched as much as I tried to touch another, knowing I’ll have another opportunity to do this all again on another day for someone new.

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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