Hope and high notes: Volunteer pianist ‘back in the groove’ at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital

When the smooth sounds of piano music fill the lobby of Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital, Reggie Watkins is likely behind the keys.

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Whenever guests of Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital hear the smooth sounds of piano music filling the lobby, Reggie Watkins is likely behind the keys.

“I get to share my gift and positively impact other people,” Reggie said. “You really feel like you did a good deed when people just look and smile with a sense of pleasant surprise at the fact that there is a real pianist playing beautiful sounds.”

Reggie, whose full-time gig is the resident pianist at Buck’s Restaurant in Old Louisville, loves sharing his music with people across the city, and volunteering at the hospital holds a special place in his heart.

“At first, I started going there to play late at night, where traffic was not as busy,” Reggie said. “I found this to be therapeutic and also rewarding, considering the cleaning staff, security and even lingering visitors appreciated the calming music at unexpected hours.”

After taking a mandatory break from the hospital due to the pandemic, Reggie is now “back in the groove,” playing the baby grand piano at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital during daytime hours several times a month. He hopes to bring joy to families, employees and anyone who needs a pick-me-up or a peaceful moment while inside the hospital.

“My inspiration is rooted deeply in just who I am,” he said. “I’ve always been a people person, and I’ve always had a strong passion and desire to create and perform music. Playing at the hospital is exactly where those two things meet beautifully.”