MUSIC FROM THE HEART: Custodial worker uses musical talents to help hospital patients

A custodial worker is doing more than just clean room at hospitals across the Valley. He is lending his musical talents to help patients forget their worries.

For Rolando Maaba, cleaning rooms is a way to make a living, but what feeds his soul is what he does before he clocks in at Banner Desert Medical Center and Cardon Children's.

"When I don't hear, I'll peek out and see what's going on," said Tricia Bruce, a patient navigator with the American Cancer Society. "Everyday, it's an enjoyment. When he comes on his shift, I know and I make sure my door is open just so I can get that peaceful afternoon."

The music comes, two hours before Rolando starts his scheduled shift. Rolando is not doing it because he has to, but because he wants to.

"Everyday I play, and some people may be tired to hear it, but some no," said Rolando.

Rolando's performance draws crowds of patients and guests, and he hopes his tunes will sooth people, and help them forget their worries.

"Music is very, very important, especially when I work in a hospital," said Rolando. "I can help some people, the patients and their relatives. If dying or something, I give them something to be calm, and to forget the problem and some healing. Music is very important. Especially for that."

For staff, Rolando's music also provides joy and comfort.

"Just to hear him play, it's like peace," said Bruce. "It's so peaceful, and he plays it peaceful, and I think that's why he's captivated so many people here. There was a little girl, and he played 'Beauty and the Beast', and she was singing, and her grandma was singing. That's pretty incredible."

Rolando, who is a native of the Philippines, has taught himself how to play, and has been playing for 40 years.

"I don't know how did I do it. It's hard to explain," said Rolando. "Maybe upstairs God gifted me that talent."

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