Nashville nonprofit provides music, hope to sick patients of all ages

Anne Holt's Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Jacob Stiefel is tuning his guitar for a morning performance. 

“A lot of times, I will have just finished a show somewhere or else it’s been sitting in the case for a while and it’s out of tune.”  

Music brought Jacob to Nashville 10 years ago. When he is not playing gigs on the road, he is performing bedside in area hospitals and health care facilities. Jacob is a musician on call.  

“That could be children, adults, veterans, and our hundreds of volunteers here in Nashville and across the country go room to room and make people feel better during what is usually their toughest day,” said Pete Griffin, President of Musicians On Call.  

Musicians On Call was founded in 1999 and opened its first national branch in Nashville in 2007. Working with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the nonprofit has brought live and recorded music to 140,000 people.  

“Living in Nashville, it feels so good to have them when you’re stuck inside, to have them come around and make you feel good, it lifts your spirits, right,” said patient Bill Phipps.  

Jenny Cain experienced music’s healing power when her 92-year-old grandfather was hospitalized. 

“It was night seven. I looked up and saw a guy with a guitar out in the hallway. He stood at the door and played a bluegrass song for my papa, who loved bluegrass. It just changed our night. It brought joy, it brought healing, it brought happiness. It gave us hope to sort of keep going,” said Cain.  

“When people come and play music for someone who’s going thru a really bad day, and you see in a couple of minutes they start to smile and sing along, you realize you can help bring that kind of happiness to someone it’s really contagious,” said Pete Griffin.  

“It’s the best thing I’ve been a part of by far,” said Stiefel.  

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