Meet Roy Montana, Our Featured Volunteer from Philadelphia!
Get to know our volunteers!
Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center and the Philly VA Community Living Center
How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? 2.5 years. My first program was in January 2016 at HUP.
Are you a Volunteer Guide or Volunteer Musician? Musician
What is your favorite song to play for patients? “At the end of a program, it feels like my favorite song is the one that got the most visible response from a patient.”
Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? “Not really, but I have had people sing and dance at times.”
Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? “Occasionally with my band “That’s How You Get Ants” and on rare occasion solo at an open mic.”
What is your occupation outside of MOC? “I’m an Engineer. I do design work and programming for industrial, pharmaceutical and power plant equipment.”
What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? “I am not a very outwardly emotional person. I feel like music is a way that I can get in touch with my emotions and express my emotions. That’s why I enjoy listening to, playing and writing music. I volunteer at MOC, because I know first-hand what a difference it makes to a patient in the hospital. I found out about MOC while I was a patient in the hospital being treated for Leukemia. When I arrived at the hospital to begin treatment (i.e. chemotherapy), I knew that I was going to be there for at least a month, so I brought my guitar with me, so that I could play and sing to help break up the monotony. During the course of treatment, I suffered nerve damage to the index fingers and thumbs of both my hands, which prevented me from being able to play the guitar. One day a MOC volunteer showed up at my room and asked if I would like to hear some live music. Best day ever while I was in the hospital! I got to experience another personal in-room performance during my second stay in the hospital (also about a month) while I was getting a Bone Marrow Transplant. The musician played a James Taylor song, and I sang along. It was another great day in the hospital! Those were my two favorite days in the hospital. My next two favorite days in the hospital were the days that I got out. I don’t remember who the musicians or the guides were, so I would like to thank all the musicians and guides for giving me those special days while I was in the hospital. Over time, my fingers got better, I started playing the guitar again and signed up for MOC so that I could make a difference in other people’s lives.
Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? “Yes. I feel that I am able to return some of the good feelings that I received to others that I perform for.”
What is your favorite #MOCmoment? “The best moment was probably one evening on an intensive care floor, when a patient told me that I was better than morphine. The patient had trouble moving on her own and asked the nurses to prop her up so she could watch me while I performed. This required two nurses and assistance from the mechanical bed. I expected her to want to hear something soothing and quiet, but she requested something upbeat and loud. Her husband suggested Proud Mary. Afterward, she was extremely pleased and told me that I was better than morphine. This was high praise indeed from someone in intensive care, who needed two nurses and assistance from a mechanical bed just to sit up.“