Dr. Melinda Moretz has been practicing family medicine for more than 30 years, but there’s another side of her that might surprise many of her patients at Palmetto Proactive Healthcare in Spartanburg.
In her spare time, Moretz can often be seen belting out classic rock tunes as a vocalist for a band called Missing Monday, whose lineup also includes another local physician, pulmonologist Dr. Joe Boscia, on lead guitar and vocals.
“I guess everybody has hobbies, and mine is music,” Moretz said. “It’s therapeutic.”
Missing Monday and six other bands — each of which features at least one medical doctor — will take the stage during Docs Who Rock, a unique concert event being held at 7 p.m. Saturday at Wofford College’s Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium in Spartanburg.
Presented by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System and hosted by the Spartanburg County Medical Society Alliance, with the support of the Spartanburg County Medical Society, the concert will offer attendees a rare glimpse of area doctors’ talents beyond typical exam rooms and hospital corridors. Proceeds will benefit the Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas, whose mission is to provide comprehensive support and loving compassion to families whose children are battling cancer.
“It’s really heartbreaking seeing what these children and their families have to go through, so I’m happy to do whatever we can to help,” said Moretz, who is a Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas board member in addition to being president-elect of the Spartanburg County Medical Society.
Missing Monday also includes keyboardist Chris Bryant, rhythm guitarist Ray Dunleavy, drummer Matt Roper and bassist Henry Stein, the latter of whom is involved in the medical field as a radiology technician.
“We got together about eight years ago, and each one of these guys is very talented,” said Moretz, a Savannah, Ga., native who moved to Spartanburg in 1985. “We’ve played around town mostly at RJ Rockers for fundraisers, and we played Music on Main a couple of years ago.”
Compared to the longevity of Missing Monday, Dr. Aaron Toler’s band is like a newborn baby coming out of the womb.
Toler, who has been practicing as a physician with Carolina Obstetrics and Gynecology for the last 20 years, only recently put together The Cradle Rockers with the sole purpose of having a band with which to perform at Docs Who Rock.
The band, whose music is described by Toler as “indie folk-rock,” is rounded out by guitarist Tad Taylor, vocalist Lindsay Bennett-Fluckiger and drummer Isaiah Mabry.
“I’ve been wanting to put a band together and this (event) was a great excuse for it,” said Toler, who played in bands during his college days but left his musical pursuits behind once his professional career got going. “And since I’m the doc who maybe doesn’t rock, I had to pull in some local heavy-hitter talent.”
In the past few months, the Cradle Rockers have played a handful of times at such venues as RJ Rockers and Delaney’s Irish Pub.
“If I could be Dave Matthews, I think I’d leave my job. I’m teasing, of course,” said Toler, who grew up in Mobile, Ala., and whose wife, Kim, is also an OB/GYN. “But music is just such a great escape. And it’s just so different from medicine, which is so left-brain whereas music is so right-brain.”
Other bands participating in the Docs Who Rock concert are Rock and Roll Reunion (Dr. Octavia Amaechi); The Oys (Dr. Stephen Gorin); Off the Wall (Dr. Michael Hood) ; The Rent (Dr. Matthew Lambert); and Jam Side Up (Dr. Troy McKinney, who will be joined by his brother, Dr. James McKinney of Charleston).
Allen said Children’s Cancer Partners has helped the families of approximately 150 children in Spartanburg County alone in the last 18 years. And since expanding its footprint to include the entirety of North and South Carolina, the organization now works with the families of more than 600 children in active treatment.
“What we do is make sure that children battling cancer have access to the care they need and that they can get to their treatment facilities wherever they are,” Allen said. “There is no cancer treatment facility in Spartanburg County for children, so they have to go to places like Greenville or Charlotte (N.C.) and often to distant places like Sloan Kettering in New York or the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“All of that traveling can get expensive, and if you’re a two-income household, most times one person has to stop working to be the caregiver to the child with cancer. … We work hard to provide not only financial support but also to be a part of the families and essentially wrap them with hope and love throughout the cancer journey.”
Allen said Docs Who Rock will also include a silent auction and that the event is the largest fundraiser ever held in benefit of Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas.