Meet Dianna Perez, our featured volunteer from Los Angeles!

Get to know our volunteers!

Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? City of Hope- Jason Pollack Bedside Performance Program

How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? 3 years as of April 11th!

Are you a Volunteer Guide or Volunteer Musician? Guide

What is your occupation outside of MOC? City of Duarte Volunteer Coordinator/AmeriCorps Lead

Do you have any hidden talents? Finding other people’s talents/strengths and helping them find opportunities to achieve many things. 🙂 I really enjoy helping others, and of course singing!

What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? I became interested in MOC when I came across a flyer promoting MOC in the PEDs unit during my morning shift at City of Hope. Since I had been singing in a choir for a few months, I thought that it would be nice to help make others feel better by singing to them. I got in contact with the program director, told her I was interested and asked if it were possible to see the program in person. She agreed and asked if I could have a song ready to audition with an accompanist.

At the time I didn’t know many instrumentalists but decided to ask the guitar player of my choir if he was interested. Sam agreed, and so we decided on a song we were both familiar with; knowing I was a huge Adele fan, we went with “Rolling in the Deep”. I didn’t know what to expect during my first visit, but I will never forget it. Mckail Seely, a very talented singer, was the musician who was scheduled to perform that day. During that one visit, I truly witnessed the healing power of music. I saw many smiles from patients, family members, and staff. I saw people getting emotional and crying because of how much it meant for them to have someone do this for them. That day I learned how It’s one thing talking/imagining this program, but to see/experience it in person is a unique and wonderful thing. I got the opportunity to sing for MOC for the first time that same day. I was really nervous but thought about the patient instead of my emotions. The patient was so happy when we were done that I left with a sense of devotion. The devotion to bringing happiness to others during a time of need. I had never experienced it until that day. Although my original intention to join MOC was for the musician position, through my conversation with Daniela ( LA director) I found out there weren’t enough volunteer guides for the program. Since I already volunteered in the mornings and I lived closer to COH I offered to help fill in some weeks until she had more volunteers guides. I spent the next few weeks shadowing/training to become a guide. For the next 2 years, I was both a musician/guide for the program, during which Sam and I made 21 visits and performed for 1,110 individuals. I always looked forward to my MOC day, especially when we performed. Sam moved about a year ago and I stopped singing for the program but still continue as a guide. It’s been months since the last time I sang for the program with my own partner & I miss it a lot. But I still feel very blessed for being part of MOC and know I’m still making a difference. Through MOC I learned more about myself and how connecting with others with music is such a special thing. Through my experience with MOC I gained so much knowledge, skills, and encouragement. I was a very shy and quiet person before I began my journey with the program, but MOC gave me the courage to pursue more opportunities with my singing and it has led me to work/meet with many other talented musicians. I volunteer with MOC because music has helped me throughout my life and I never imagined I would have the opportunity to do it for others. I hope in continuing my journey as a MOC member for years to come.

What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? It’s a unique experience for people to connect and heal through the power of music. Making someone’s sadness and pain go away by making their day with a song has just been very life changing. I believe every musician should be a part of this.

Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? YES! In so many ways! I have experienced and met so many talented/great people thanks to MOC!

What is your favorite #MOCmoment? There are so many! Its hard to just pick one. My most favorite occurred during one of my visits as a musician with my music partner Sam. We performed for so many patients and families during that time. I loved doing Adele covers, so decided to sing “Set Fire to the Rain” for a patient who had mentioned she had a daughter who was also a musician. We performed to song and the room became quiet for a moment. She began to cry and smiled.

She then said, “I have seen/heard many musicians & great performances. But what you both have done for me today is beyond words. What you and this program do, is a blessing to those of us who have lost hope. It’s great thing you all do. I hope you continue this path in sharing your gifts with those who need it the most. Those of us who are going through dark times. The world needs more people like you to bring a light of hope in our hearts. I believe that today you were both meant to be here at this exact moment. I was having a very bad day, but this has completely turned it around. I feel very warm inside. It’s thanks to you both. The only thing I can really say is thank you. Please continue sharing this marvelous experience with those in need of it.”

For the next 15-20 min we talked about the healing power of music & how music brings people together. She then went on to ask us about our experiences as musicians and asked why we joined MOC. This moment meant so much to me because I never thought I could do or be part of something that would touch a person’s life in that way. Till this day, that conversation resonates in my memory. As much as I had impacted that patients life, that moment made me realize how grateful and bless I am to have music & MOC as part of my life.

Do you want to help us deliver the healing power of music? Apply to volunteer as a guide or a musician today!