Felix Bullock: LAYGO Outreach at USC Medical Center

Guitar ensemble

LAYGO at LAC USC Medical Center

This past Friday morning, June 9, six members of LAYGO visited the LA County/USC Medical Center. While there, they performed outside in the courtyard as patients, doctors, and staff were walking in for the day. A small crowd listened throughout our hour-long set. It was a pleasant morning with a few gusts of wind carrying our music away at times. The students really enjoyed themselves even as they struggled to hear each other in a new environment.

The favorite of the audience was a piece written for LAYGO by a PCM alum, Alex Mansour. After performing his Concerto in E Minor, they applauded robustly in appreciation of the flamenco influences. Many of the medical staff intently focused on the finger work of our students as if they were guitarists themselves, intent on trying out a few licks after the shift was over.

Two people, one with guitar

It was humbling to positively affect individuals whom we may not normally interact with on a regular basis. In the waiting rooms, patients and employees responded to the music with curiosity. I was not only able to relieve patients of stress, but doctors, nurses, and waiting room staff as well who are surrounded by sadness and sickness on a daily basis.

– Thomas Lai, member of LAYGO

Two guitarists

When I played I noticed the people working at the hospital, such as the security at the entrance really enjoyed listening. Overall it brought a happier vibe in the hospital and made people smile. It was a great experience.

– Shant Kurdian, member of LAYGO

After our outdoor performance, all six of the students went inside the center to perform solos. Thomas Lai and Momo Moran played in the waiting room of the Emergency Room. Sean Sakai-Mohr and Shant Kurdian traded solos in the main entrance. Maggie Grether and Evelyn Nguyen played in the chemotherapy infusion unit. The director of chemotherapy announced both girls to the applause of the patients. There were many smiles as both Evelyn and Maggie played. As we were leaving, many of the patients waved goodbye and asked them back again on another day.

Girl with guitar

My USC experience last Friday was such a wonderful experience. I was a little nervous at first about playing for the hospital and inside a clinic, but it turned out to be such a nice experience. The environment was calm and very friendly. Made me feel good to be a part of a very warm and giving team. Being able to play the music I love for all the surrounding and those patients really felt great. Miss Toby was very nice to have invited us. I really appreciate Mr. Bullock for introducing us to play for the such a great hospital and for the patients in the clinic.

– Evelyn Nguyen, member of LAYGO

Our visit was set up by Toby Horn, the director of the LA County + USC Medical Center Music Program. She is passionate about the healing power of music. Her music program brings in pianists, guitarists, clarinetists and many other musicians throughout the week to make the environment of the clinic a bit cheerier. Toby herself lights up the room with her smile and welcoming greeting to all she sees. Our performers were really set at ease because of her gracious hosting.

Toby hopes to have us back again. She would like to extend an invitation to all PCM teachers and students to come to the center to share music with the people there to help brighten their day.