Get to know our volunteers!
Name: Corinne Parrish
Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I mostly volunteer at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, also with the occasional shift at Stallworth Rehabilitation, Sarah Cannon Cancer Center and the VA.
How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? A little over a year.
Are you a Volunteer Guide or Volunteer Musician? Musician
What is your favorite song to play for patients? Honestly I don’t really have a favorite because it’s not really about the song I play, but more about the moment the patient and I exchange. As all volunteers do, I have to size up the situation and see what the patient is in the mood for. But if I had to choose, I enjoy playing ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ from Cinderella as a lullaby for the little ones.
Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? No, not exactly. But there have been multiple occasions where an older man or woman would begin to snap their finger and hum along to the song. It’s fun to see the patients really into it. I think patients expect knocks at their door are usually nurses or doctors. Nobody seems to ever be expecting US. Such a fun surprise.
Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? Yes, I perform with my high school music ensemble and with the theater department.
What is your occupation outside of MOC? High School Student (senior)
Do you have any hidden talents? Not many people know that I’ve played golf competitively since the seventh grade. My team this year qualified for the TSSAA state tournament and received the team runner up title. I consider it definitely one of my favorite senior moments. I’m the only one in my family that sings, but my entire family plays golf.
What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? When I was three years old I was hospitalized with a cardiac illness called Kawasaki Disease. I know what you’re thinking and no, it’s not like the motorcycle. While there is no known cause, Kawasaki Disease is a serious blood vessel inflammation, mostly striking pre-school age males in Japan. So for a blond-haired, blue-eyed girl from Nashville, Tennessee, this was far from normal. The illness presents itself as a virus, but, if not diagnosed correctly, has the potential to eat away at one’s coronary arteries. There is no question I was very sick and not myself. My mom has told me about how I would respond to the Disney CDs she played over and over for me in the hospital, and that’s how she would get me to sit up and eat. Fortunately, and with thanks to some excellent doctors, I am completely healthy. Knowing what I know now, I believe music played a large role in my mental and physical healing at such a young age.
This story is the base to why I volunteer for MOC. It brings me so much joy knowing just how much a smiling face can change a person’s day, and the fact that I experienced it first hand only solidifies that experience.
What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? The connections with the people is what truly makes is different from any other volunteering opportunity. You can always feel the mood when entering a room and through music are able to alter the feeling of the room. You can see it on the faces of the people even if they can’t talk back to you. When a patient begins to laugh with their family, there is a feeling in the air that is unexplainable and unlike any other. No feeling is quite the same, and it’s such a privilege to be able to experience that moment first hand. Music just makes all that happen.
Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? Completely. It had made me realize just how precious life is. One’s life can change in an instant and I think working with MOC has allowed me to really see how precious life is and the moments that come with it; and to never take that for granted.
What is your favorite #MOCmoment? AI think one of my favorite moments was at my recent shift at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. I entered a room to find a little nine year old wearing Frozen themed pajamas with her mother standing next to the bed. She seemed excited to see a new face that wasn’t a doctor or nurse. As I began to sing ‘I Choose You’ by Sara Bareilles, she began to smile. As I sang, a smile formed on her face. Naturally, I smiled back. My smile (or maybe my attempt at singing while bearing a toothy grin) caused her to smile harder, and thus, we began a sort of ‘smiling game’ in which she definitely had the upper hand. She gave a little joyous shudder, and we both began to giggle as the song continued. The mood in that room changed significantly as I left. No words were spoken that day; they didn’t need to be. We knew through our little game of smiles and giggles that we’d impacted each other in just the way I had set out to do. This was a moment I truly will never forget.