Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center - Richmond, VA
Veterans Day tribute from a VA nurse
For Veterans Day, Central Virginia VA Health Care System (CVHCS) wanted to do something a little different by asking registered nurse Tracey Welborn to sing a tribute to Veterans to be shared on our social media channels. Prior to his health care profession, Welborn trained and toured as an opera singer. Learn about his history and enjoy his rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, which he has graciously devoted to the group of men and women we are proud to call Veterans.
How Welborn went from the Opera House to the Veterans Hospital
After years of singing and performing for audiences across the globe, Tracey Welborn decided it was time to become a registered nurse. Luckily for CVHCS, Welborn landed in the education department where he trains fellow staff members how to engage with patients in a clinical setting.
“All the world’s a stage and part of life is performing,” Welborn stated, quoting William Shakespeare. “There is a connection that can happen when you perform on an emotional or even empathetic level. If you can tap into that with a patient, putting yourself in their shoes, you find the humanity in those interactions.”
Welborn, who received a full scholarship to study at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, credits his path in life to his mentor, Edward Lowe. Lowe was the choir director at Guilford College and would give free vocal lessons to Welborn. He urged Welborn to pursue further training as a singer.
“I’ve been lucky my whole life,” said Welborn, whose favorite song to sing is “Without A Song” by Vincent Youmans.
“My work with Ed was a gift that has given me my beautiful family, a life in the arts and now a life caring for Veterans,” said Welborn. “I am a lucky man.”
Throughout his singing career, Welborn performed at the New York City Opera, Opera de Lausanne, Canadian Opera Company, Los Angeles Philharmonic and many others. Since the pandemic happened in early 2020, Welborn has since gone virtual, partnering with the National Virtual Medical Orchestra (NVMO) to serve as a tenor soloist for Giacomo Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma.”
“I heard him singing Nessun Dorma and could tell in just a few seconds that he was a one-of-a-kind talent in the medical/musical community,” said John Masko, conductor of NVMO.
NVMO provides a space for medical musicians whose orchestras have been shuttered by COVID-19 to come together to play their instruments, decompress and share their talents with a wider audience.