Meet Annie Schindel, Our Featured Volunteers from Los Angeles!
Get to know our volunteers!
Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? UCLA Mattel Children’s and UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica
How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? 5 years!
Are you a volunteer guide or musician? Musician
What is your favorite song to play for patients? 1. Because I mostly volunteer at the children’s hospital, most of my favorite songs to sing are Disney. Moana’s ‘How Far I’ll Go’ or Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’ are always hits. It’s really special to see a kid’s face light up and sing along because they recognize the song or just saw the movie. Plus, everyone loves a good Disney princess song.
Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or families in a hospital room? Sometimes you hit the lottery and end up playing a patient’s favorite song and the energy in the room sky rockets. You watch families sing along to songs they haven’t heard in years or a patient stand up to dance who hasn’t been out of bed in a week. This is all impromptu and instantaneous comfort, joy, or relief.
Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? I love performing my own songs at local venues here in LA! Hotel Cafe has been a super special spot for me.
What is your occupation outside of MOC? I’m a full-time singer/songwriter! Lucky that it’s my job and my passion.
Do you have any hidden talents? I can sing with my mouth closed? I’m not sure if this is a talent or just weird.
What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? I’ve been volunteering with MOC since I was 16 years old, but it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with my own chronic illness that the healing power of music affected me first hand. Music gets me out of bed in the morning, keeps me hopeful when I’m not, and connected when I feel alone. Volunteering with MOC gives me a front row seat not just to the power of music, but the strength, resilience, and determination of the patients battling through some really dark times.
What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? There is an immediate pay off for everyone in the room. A smile, a foot tap, a finger wiggle, a baby falling asleep— I can’t think of any other interactions with total strangers that bring this kind of experience in the time it takes to sing one song.
Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? Definitely and in ways both big and small. Working with MOC has made me a more compassionate, patient, and grateful person. Every time I walk into a hospital room with my guitar is a chance to get out of my own head and focus solely on bringing someone some sense of relief, joy, or even a 10 minute reprieve from the harsh reality of being sick.
What is your favorite #MOCmoment? One of my most special #MOCmoments was during a program at a children’s hospital here in LA. A young patient had been in the hospital for months and was unable to speak or get out of bed. Her parents asked me to sing one of her favorite songs, ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy and like magic, the little girl who hadn’t moved in weeks, started smiling and wiggling her fingers to the music. Her face completely lit up. The room was really emotional with tears of happiness and hope and was an incredibly special moment to be apart of.