Natalie Weber has experienced the healing power of music firsthand: Her father had colon cancer a couple of years ago.

Natalie Weber has experienced the healing power of music firsthand: Her father had colon cancer a couple of years ago.

"I remember he told me after one of my violin lessons that was the only thing that helped him calm down and feel better after going through chemotherapy," Weber said.

Robert Weber, now senior director of pharmaceutical services at the Ohio State University Medical Center, noticed someone playing the piano at the James Cancer Hospital, and told his daughter about it. This summer, Natalie Weber is one of the 20 MusicCare volunteers who perform a couple times a week in various areas of the James for cancer patients.

"The MusicCare program holds tremendous value at The James, as it brings beautiful live music into the hospital environment," said Alejandra Ferrer, music therapist and coordinator for MusicCare. "The music helps to normalize the unfamiliar medical setting and aids in the quality of stay/wait time for patients and their families. Both patients and staff report the soothing and calming benefits hearing a MusicCare volunteer brings."

"I wanted to do that, because I saw how much of an impact cancer had on my life, and I wanted to help other people with it," Natalie said. "It's really helped a lot of people, and it has helped me, too."

Natalie is going into her junior year at Davidson High School.

"She's a mature and conscientious-enough girl that can handle some of the difficult aspects of doing something like that," said Mark Sholl, director of orchestras at Davidson. "Obviously she wouldn't have done it if she weren't a caring-enough kid. She's ideally suited to do something like this."

Weber said she plays slow folk songs that are familiar-sounding and soothing, but "once in a while they'll request 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' or something like that."

Ironically, Weber said she doesn't like hospitals, but she does like to help those in need. Sometimes, her playing has helped patients and families get through particularly trying times.

"A lady came up to me because she saw me standing with my violin and said, 'Were you the one playing the violin up on the eighth floor?' I said yes. She said, 'You saved my husband's life today.'

"I just looked at her. She said, 'My husband was having a lumbar puncture (spinal tap), and you started playing at the exact moment when he was going to have this done. You completely calmed down the entire room and you got all of us through it.'

"It's those types of things that make you want to come back and play for people," Weber said.