Meet Derek Andrew, Our Featured Volunteer from Atlanta!

Get to know our volunteers!

Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? Atlanta VA

How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call?  1 year

Are you a Volunteer Guide or Volunteer Musician?  Musician

What is your favorite song to play for patients?Sitting on The Dock of the Bay

Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? “Yes. I have a few patients who sing along so loud that I quit and let them take over 🙂

Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? “Yes. My band and I tour the East coast and some central states.

What is your occupation outside of MOC? “I’m a 13 year Paramedic on a 911 ambulance

What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC?I started singing at a very young age and as I got older I picked up the guitar and learned to play. Starting out in Christian music, I learned early on the healing power of music and the effect it has on people. As a paramedic for the past 13 years and a touring musician, I couldn’t think of any better way to combine the two other than volunteering for MOC. I chose to volunteer for MOC simply for the possibility and opportunity to brighten someone’s day through music.

Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC?  “Before I began volunteering with MOC, I had an idea of how music touched peoples lives – because of MOC, I know the effect.”

What is your favorite #MOCmoment? During one of my first visits to the Altanta VA, I was told we had a guy who LOVED music but was unable to speak due to a previous stroke. Prior to playing for him, my guide mentioned to me the patients favorite song was “Sitting on the dock of the bay” by Otis Redding. That night, I chose to play that song for the elderly gentleman. I began to play and his face and body lit up with emotion. His hands began to tap and his head began to sway back and forth to the music. I made it through about a verse and a half when all of a sudden I heard a small voice singing back to me. The small voice became louder until I realized that the person who hadn’t spoken in lord knows how long was now singing along to his most favorite song. I quieted my singing and allowed him to finish the song by himself, curing him only when necessary. I’ve played in front of hundreds of people and alongside some of the best country artists my generation has ever known, but this night touched me more than all of those nights combined. It was truly a #MOCmoment

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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