Meet Nicole Haley, our featured volunteer from Los Angeles!
Get to know our volunteers!
Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I volunteer at UCLA Santa Monica, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, and City of Hope
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? My favorite song to play for patients is a song of mine called “Spend a Little Time With Me.” It always gets patients and their families clapping along and smiling!
Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? Yes, I have! At City of Hope, a patient asked if I knew any bluegrass music. Her family was with her, and we all ended up singing a bluegrass song together while one of the family members played my guitar!
Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? I perform all the time in LA, and have played venues like Hotel Cafe, Herb Alpert’s Vibrato, Catalina’s, Genghis Cohen, Molly Malones, and lots of events and private parties.
What is your occupation outside of MOC? I just graduated from UCLA, and work as a songwriter/musician.
Do you have any hidden talents? I’ve been playing tennis since I was 4, and have a mean forehand.
What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? Music, to me, is the ultimate form of connection. It transcends languages, mediums, and brings people together regardless of culture or socioeconomic status. MOC highlights the purest form of musical healing – I don’t know the patients, and the patients don’t know me, but if I can play a song that they connect with and provide a moment of peace, it means more than any conversation with a stranger could mean. I get so much out of my time with Musicians on Call, and experiencing the strength and power of music in this setting is such a gift.
What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? MOC is the most profound volunteer experience I’ve ever encountered. I have volunteered all of my life (volunteer tutoring, music lessons, and animal shelters), but this organization combines my love of volunteering with my passion and dedication to music. You can instantly see that you have made a difference in someone’s day to day life in the hospital, and that feeling never gets old.
Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? Before starting as a musician with MOC, I had never really been in a hospital – so that’s been a big change! I’ve learned to see through the hallways and beds and machines and beeping and see the PEOPLE who are in the room. There is more to every person than there illness, and MOC has opened my eyes to their experience. I’ve heard the most incredible stories from patients young and old, stories of resilience in the face of incredible hardship to stories about family and love and compassion. Overall, MOC has been one of the most life changing experiences I’ve ever had, and constantly reminds me to live my life to the fullest as long as I am capable.
What is your favorite #MOCmoment? It’s hard to choose my favorite #MOCmoment, because there have been so many that bring both smiles and tears. Recently, at UCLA Mattel, my guide Jean and I played for a patient who was clearly very, very ill. He didn’t seem to be responsive, but when I started playing, his face broke out into a massive smile that continued getting wider and wider throughout the song. All of a sudden, he start laughing loudly while smiling away, and kept cheering as we left the room. Jean and I were both so touched by this moment that we had to take a second to catch our breath. This is just one of many #MOCmoments that I have been lucky enough to experience. Thank you to Musicians on Call for changing my life, and for bringing the healing power of music to patients all over the country.