Meet India Nolen-Tuleja, Our Featured Volunteer from Denver!
Get to know our volunteers!
Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I volunteer at The Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center.
How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? I have been volunteering for one year.
Are you a volunteer guide or musician? Guide
What is your occupation outside of MOC? Artist manager, booker, and coach
Do you have any hidden talents? I can jump like a frog to unnatural heights.
What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? I started playing fiddle when I was 4 years old, saxophone at 9, guitar and voice at 16, and now drums, piano, and producing at, well, later 🙂 and it’s like an appetite I can’t ever satiate. Music has the power to instantly move me to tears, fancy footwork, and curiosity, sometimes all at once. The purity, depth, and complexity of its impact is what keeps me connected to it. I volunteer with Musicians on Call because there is nothing like seeing a patient light up with joy from the sound of music and the kind presence of musicians just giving a gift. I feel quite fortunate to have any part in such a powerful healing act of service.
What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? The immediacy of it. There is no question that what you are doing is immediately and directly affecting someone and someone who quite obviously needs that lift in their day and in their life.
Has your life changed because of your experience with Musicians On Call? Absolutely! As a guide, I have the unique role of acting as a liaison between the patient and musician. Every single visit, I am holding back tears of being deeply moved by the beautiful experience of facilitating, witnessing, and holding the space for healing. I am humbled, surprised, and enlivened every single time I volunteer. I am so grateful for the experience.
What is your favorite #MOCmoment? I will never forget one patient was lying down and had his eyes closed and as soon as the musician started playing, he started dancing wildly in his hospital bed, arms punching the air, hands clapping, and his whole body rocking all over the place in this unapologetically expressive, joyful to the brim celebration of music. He just let the music move him and didn’t give a care in the world about what anyone else thought. Music has the power to break down those social norms and just free us, and he stepped fully into that freedom. It was an unforgettable experience and wonderful reminder of how important it is to just let yourself be moved, no matter what, whether you have all of your faculties or are bedridden. Joy sees no limits and music can be the permission to that joy.