Get to know our volunteers!
Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I volunteer at the Atlanta VA Hospital
How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? I have been volunteering for almost 4 years!
Are you a volunteer guide or musician? Musician
What is your favorite song to play for patients? That’s a tough question. The nature of the program at the VA Hospital is that there are many long term patients, so I get to see them regularly. There are patients who have favorite songs that they ask for every program. I would say though, that one of my favorite songs to play for patients is “When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss.
Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? Yes! There is a long term care patient that often requests songs from 1970’s female country and rock artists. With the help of our awesome Atlanta guide, Michael Pelaia, he’s stepped out of his comfort zone to provide tambourine and background vocals, while the patient and I sing songs from “Jolene” to “Me and Bobby McGee” to “Rhiannon.”
Do you perform anywhere else besides for MOC? I do! I play as part of a duo, LB and Di. I often play with LB’s original project, “LB Collective.” My husband, Steve, LB, AJ and I and our friend, Camp, play as a cover band. Also I’m thrilled to play in my church, and to work with a professional caroling company, “Like the Dickens” every November and December for the last 17 years. I get to wear a ginormous dress and sing a cappella madrigals and Christmas carols with some fantastic quartets.
What is your occupation outside of MOC? I teach Piano and Voice at The Harmony House.
Do you have any hidden talents? I don’t think so. If I do…they’re still hidden. 🙂
What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? I saw something online about MOC before it came to Atlanta and decided then that I would follow them and volunteer if the opportunity came about. MOC is one of the best volunteer organizations around. I think people want to help other people. I may not have the ability to fix you physically, but I can sing a song with you, or for you, and hopefully bring back great memories or take away your pain for a few minutes. MOC makes me feel useful when people feel helpless.
What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? Many volunteer experiences, although rewarding, don’t allow you to immediately see the impact you’re having on someone like you do with MOC.
Has your life changed because of your experience with Musicians On Call? MOC has been a great reminder to me to not take people, situations and experiences for granted – and to have more compassion. It’s also made me relax a bit on some of my perfectionist tendencies which has helped me become more productive. I focus less on a bad note here and there, and more on making sure that the patient has the best experience I can offer.
What is your favorite #MOCmoment? I know everyone says this, but it’s hard to pick one. Recently I was in the room of a man who was in his last hours here. He didn’t have family, but a VA volunteer from another organization was sitting in the room with him so he would not be alone when he passed. She said that he was extremely agitated and that maybe I could sing something quietly to help him. He had an open bible laying on the table next to him so I chose to sing “Amazing Grace.” There was an immediate peace and calming that came over this man that was incredible to witness and from what I understand, he remained peaceful until his later passing.