HOPE Week: Musicians on Call

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Bernie Williams [C with guitar] is joined by Musicians on Call volunteer Jeremy Bar-Illan [far L with guitar] and Yankees Chase Whitley [obscured by Bar-Illan], Vidal Nuno [behind Williams], Carlos Beltran [red pants] and Adam Warren [far R] in performing at the bedside of hospital patient Jasmine Delmonte.

Outfielders Carlos Beltran and Brett Gardner; pitchers Vidal Nuno, Adam Warren and Chase Whitley and former Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams went to the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian, where they performed in a concert Thursday with Musicians on Call in the hospital’s “Wintergarden.”

The Yankees’ group as part of HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) then visited patients who were confined to their rooms and unable to attend the concert. In the evening, volunteer musicians, guides and Musicians on Call representatives were guests of the Yankees for their game against the Blue Jays.

In 1999, Michael Solomon and Vivek Tiwary sponsored a concert for patients at a Manhattan hospital. Upon witnessing the joy that the event brought patients, Musicians on Call was born. Since its inception 15 years ago, the organization has seen hundreds of volunteer musicians perform for more than 400,000 individuals with a focus on reaching patients confined to their rooms and afforded very little interaction with others due to their illnesses. Based in New York City, the organization has grown greatly over the last 15 years, expanding to include locations in Philadelphia, Nashville, Miami, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

One of Musicians on Call’s volunteers is Jeremy Bar-Illan, who joined the organization in January 2011, and has since volunteered on a weekly basis.

“Music is the bridge to a moment of tranquility for patients and their families,” Bar-Illan said. “There is very little in a hospital that brings peace and comfort to patients. Most of the time it comes in the form of pharmaceutical painkillers. Music creates a moment for everyone to step out of the reality of illness. After I complete a hospital program, or support a non-profit, I feel like the richest man in the world on so many levels. To me, my experience with music as a bridge — a source of healing — is priceless.”

Pete Griffin, President of Musicians on Call, echoes Bar-Illan’s sentiment. “Whether it’s to reduce anxiety or stress before a big game, or to elevate our moods and ease recovery while in a hospital, music is the universal language of healing,” Griffin said. “It’s an honor to work with the wonderful caregivers at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian, the New York Yankees and our amazing volunteers to deliver the healing power of music to the bedsides of patients.”

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