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Musicians on Call

By Beth Simkanin


The power of music can heal the soul and spirit, especially when a person is sick.

That’s why Jim Keller, a parishioner at the Catholic Church of the Incarnation and local musician, volunteers his time once a month to play music for children at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in downtown Memphis. 

He understands that music brings happiness to a child in pain and encourages other Memphis-area musicians to donate their time and talent to bring the joy of music to children and their families during a stressful time.

“It’s very rewarding to see how music can light up a child’s face, no matter the situation,” Keller said. “Local musicians interested in volunteering their time and talent should consider this ministry. It’s a gift to see the joy that music can bring to a child in the hospital.”

Keller performs at the bedsides of patients at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital through Musicians on Call, a national organization that brings live and recorded music to patients in healthcare facilities in 14 cities across the United States. According to the organization’s website, Musicians On Call volunteer musicians have performed for over 600,000 patients and their families nationwide since 1999

           Keller commits to volunteering at the hospital once a month for one hour and a half and performs for around 50 people each visit, including patients and their families. A Musician on Call volunteer guide, who works as a liaison between the hospital and the musician, escorts him throughout the hospital to sing to patients who range anywhere from six-months-old to 20-years-old.

            Keller, who plays the acoustic guitar, is the only Memphis-area musician who volunteers his time to play live music for this ministry. He heard about the organization over the summer in the Fishers of Men group at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church through a friend, Bob Stewart, who is a volunteer guide for Musicians on Call and a parishioner at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. He signed up to volunteer and has played live music to children in the hospital since August. 

            One of his most memorable moments was playing for a 12-year-old girl and her mother.

            “I was playing ‘Proud Mary’ and all of a sudden she jumped out of bed and began dancing with her mother,” Keller said.

Keller says its been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. He encourages other musicians to become involved with Musicians on Call. 

Musician on Call volunteers must commit to volunteering once a month for at least one year. All volunteers must participate in the organization’s training process, which includes an application, orientation and quiz.

“God’s given me the gift of music, and I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to share it with others,” Keller said.

* If interested in knowing more about Musicians on Call, please contact Jim Keller at 901-230-7130 or You can sign up to become a volunteer at


Dec 07, 2018

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