Volunteer musicians are giving patients and visitors to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center a reason to smile. Sixteen musicians perform in the hospital’s lobby each week.

  • 16 volunteer musicians play in Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center
  • Volunteers say they hope it provides patients with peace

Peter Brian Rice, 88, plays classic songs on the lobby’s grand piano. It gives him an incentive to keep practicing and performing.  

“I hope I’m taking their mind off their situation currently and making them feel a little bit better,” he said. “If it happens to even one person while I’m here, it’s worthwhile.”

Gloria Tondee was waiting in the lobby before she had a medical procedure Tuesday. She was dealing with her nerves and listening to Rice play the piano helped to calm her down. 

“He’s playing the older music,” she said. “You know you really get into it. Enjoy hearing it. It’s calming.”

Vietnam vet Kenneth “Kenny J” Jones sings in the lobby each week for an hour. He said he did it to give back to the hospital after successful heart surgery nine years ago.

 “And I felt like it was something I could do, pay them back a little bit for the great service and great things they did for me,” said Jones.

The musicians don’t perform for a large audience. Their reward is knowing they are offering some healing for people’s souls.

“You would hope that pieces that you might play, even how imperfectly you might do it, that it might strike some chord in their heart. Gee, this makes me feel good or I remember this,” said Rice.

The musicians also perform in the hospital’s memory disorder unit.