Get to know our volunteers!
Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I volunteer at CHOP, HUP, Jefferson, Philly VA, St Christopher’s, Wilmington Hospital, Lourdes, (and soon Bryn Mawr soon)!
How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? 4 1/2 years, 123 programs and counting!
Are you a Volunteer Guide or Volunteer Musician? Musician
What is your favorite song to play for patients? I favor narratives with a happy ending because they’re uplifting and not just happy songs.
Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? I regularly have sing-alongs, especially when families are visiting.
Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? Like Wawas, I’m all over!
What is your occupation outside of MOC? Mostly music and related activites.
Do You Have Any Hidden Talents? Yes. I prefer to keep them hidden.
What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? “If it weren’t for music, I’d be allergic to life!” is a quote I heard from an 8-year-old a while back that resonates strongly with me. Music has always been a big part of my life. I’ve been playing professionally since I was 13. I had the good fortune to have been introduced to institutional music as a teenager and experience the win-win that comes with it. During MOC programs, I’m frequently approached by people who thank me for doing what I do. My standard reply has become “I often wonder who receives the greater benefit!” I’ve been blessed in my career to have performed for the rich and famous, even the president, and some of my performances doing volunteer work have been more deeply moving experiences for me than any of the others.
What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? MOC performances are unique in that I have no idea who my audience is until the moment I step ‘on stage.’ Sometimes I’ll get a quick ‘heads-up’ from the guide about what I’m about to face but it comes with only a moment’s notice before it’s time to play. It’s my responsibility to immediately assess my audience and select and start playing the best song I can perform to hopefully uplift and help them have a break from the situation they’re facing, if only for a couple minutes. I don’t know of another performance environment like it and I’ve found it to be of benefit to my other work as well.
Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? Absolutely! About the same time I started with MOC, I was experiencing a significant up tick in gratitude and grace, on a personal level, which has grown to be profound at this point. More than I ever knew could be possible. My experiences with MOC have been a catalyst and I’m not sure I’d be in the same place without it.
What is your favorite #MOCmoment? Every program seems to generate some memorable moments. Many have been very deeply moving for me. One that comes to mind is after playing for a girl and her family in a pediatric oncology unit: I had finished the song, said my usual ‘thank you!’ coupled with “I wish you all the best!” and headed for the door with my guide. The girl’s father had rushed out behind us and stopped us just outside the door saying: “I have to tell you that my daughter’s been in here for two weeks now and this was the first time I’ve seen her smile.” Now if that ain’t worth the price of admission, I don’t know what is!!