July 25, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

The Miracle of Music: West Los Angeles VA seeks a piano

The VA has a music program for veterans, but it is in need of a piano that they can play.
The VA has a music program for veterans, but it is in need of a piano that they can play.

By Barbara Lewis

For hundreds of thousands of U.S. veterans, the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) in West Los Angeles is a lighthouse for care, compassion, and medical services.

Wartime vets have special needs spawned by the cruelty that battles inflict, both physically and emotionally. Oftentimes, vets enter the VAGLAHS facilities agitated, anxious and worried.

Research reflects that music can temper that outlook, and the VAGLAHS has embraced the concept.
“Music means so much to our residents,” explained Lisa Grace, Nurse and Clinical Nurse Educator. “They really enjoy music.”

Grace added that music gives the vets a break from their problems.

“With music they are at peace and happy,” she said.

This is so much so that Certified Nursing Assistant Debra McCoy proposed a music pleasure program two to three days a week for interested vets. She described the reason why she requested the program.

“Vets deal with anxiety and pain, and music takes their mind off the pain and relaxes them,” McCoy said.

Vets suggest a musician, many of whom have served in the military.

McCoy downloads background about the musician to read to the group while the artist’s music plays.

A lively discussion ensues about the artists, memories inspired by the songs and the songs’ era. The musicians span a wide range of music genres. Some recent artists have included Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, Randy Travis, Olivia Newton-John, Tori Amos, and Santana, among others.

Missing in the music pleasure program is a piano.

“Some of the vets are musicians, some have played for a living and others have met the artists,” said McCoy, who is asked by vets if she can find a piano that they can play. The VAGLAHS would relish a player piano, so music can play when there isn’t a musician at the keyboards.

If you can help VAGLAHS bring the miracle of music to veterans through donations to the VAGLAHS, contact the Voluntary Services Department at 310.268.4350 or visit www.losangeles.va.gov/giving.

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