Musicians On Call
HEALING THE COMMUNITY THROUGH MUSIC
NASHVILLE SINCE 2015
Musicians On Call President Pete Griffin made the move to Nashville three years ago, but the organization has been lifting the spirits of Music City long before that. Since 1999, when Musicians On Call began in New York, volunteer musicians have performed for over 600,000 hospital patients and their families, going room to room at hospitals and playing music for those being treated there. Their A-list roster of participants ranges from Bruce Springsteen and Kelly Clarkson to Luke Bryan and Keith Urban.
“We started almost 20 years ago in New York, when our co-founder’s girlfriend was in the hospital with sarcoma,” Pete explains. Co-founder Michael Solomon and the mother of his girlfriend Kristen Ann Carr worked in the music industry. “They said, ‘Why don’t we bring some musicians here to the hospital as a way to say thank you to the doctors, give a little bit of down time to the patients and their families,’” Pete shares.
They involved Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, to perform in the hospital lobby. “It was great, everyone absolutely loved it,” Pete says, “but what they realized is that there were all these patients that were stuck in their rooms because they were too sick or their treatment didn’t allow them to come down to the lobby. That’s when the idea started of, why don’t we bring musicians to go room to room to play for all these patients that are stuck in their rooms and probably need music more than anyone.”
The positive impacts can be felt both immediately and long-term. “In the last 19 years, all this research has been done that shows that music actually helps heal people,” Pete says. He cites research that has proven music helps with pain and stress management and can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Pete himself came to Musicians On Call four years ago. “We were in five cities,” he says. “Now we’re in 27, and about to launch four more this year. Our vision is to allow music to be in every hospital.”
He moved to Nashville from Brooklyn three years ago. “Professionally, Nashville has probably been our strongest community in terms of support,” he shares. “It’s a very philanthropic community; the music industry really embraces us down here.”
“It’s important to me that when people are going through a tough time, that there’s other people there that care enough about them to try to make their day better,” Pete says. “Knowing that there are other people out there that are willing to give up part of their day to spend time with us is the coolest part. I think that’s the most important part of what we all do is really just caring for people in our community.”