Physician and musician Dr. Mary Rorro blends music into her psychiatric practice with Veterans at the New Jersey VA. Her therapeutic music program, “A Few Good Notes,” provides therapeutic effects in Veterans’ journeys toward healing.

As part of the program, Veteran volunteers teach Veterans guitar lessons. Rorro plays with them on viola both in the clinic and community, including at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City and at the New Jersey Governor’s Mansion in Princeton.

Her collaboration with a former teacher resulted in patriotic music which has special meaning every year around Veterans Day.

She reconnected with her former Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra conductor Maestro Matteo Giammario during the pandemic. An arrangement was needed for her song “Answering the Call,” which commemorates the courage and compassion of health care providers who answered the call for patients during the pandemic.

VA doctor, her mother, senior Veteran

Dr. Mary Rorro and Maestro Matteo Giammario collaborating on their music with Dr. Gilda Rorro.

Completed 13 songs together

They composed a suite on this theme called “Meet the Moment,” which was developed into a video featuring health care providers and physicians from around the world.

They then embarked on writing 13 songs together. They also composed anthems for international charitable organizations, including “Filitalia” and “A Chance in Life.”

Her mother, Dr. Gilda Rorro, bonded with Matteo over their enthusiasm for shared Italian cultural heritage during recording session visits to his home.

After singing one of her songs for Matteo, called “Thank You, Veterans,” she learned he was a World War II Veteran who served in the Navy. He remarked, “Thank you for that song. I am a Veteran.” He then wrote an arrangement for the song to honor his fellow Veterans.

Song speaks of Veterans’ sacrifices

He also composed an arrangement of her song “The Banner Yet Waves,” commenting, “It has heart and speaks about the sacrifices Veterans have made.” His father was a WWI Veteran who was shot twice. “He did not allow it to slow him down and did not live in fear. He died with a bullet still lodged near his spine.”

Matteo often reflected on his sorrow for those who perished in the war and whose families never were able to see their loved ones again. “The Banner Yet Waves” enabled him to express that emotion through his arrangement. It combines elements of the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star-Spangled Banner, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and TAPS. The song commemorates those who served and sacrificed, honoring flag and country.

Rorro volunteers for Veteran ceremonies and events. She will perform at the Princeton University Chapel Service Veterans Day Service on Nov. 11, singing her original song “Meet the Moment” with chapel organist Eric Plutz playing Matteo’s arrangement. On November 13, she will sing “Thank You, Veterans” for the Marine Corps Birthday event at the New Jersey Governor’s Mansion.

Rorro performed “Thank You, Veterans” at the Princeton University Chapel for their Veterans Day service in 2021. She adds, “I will always remember the privilege to share my music and collaborate on 13 songs with the talented and kind musical mentor Maestro Matteo, World War II Veteran, and true American patriot.”

By Montage of VA doctor Rorro and senior Veteran-composer; music therapy

Hans Petersen

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Published on Nov. 9, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.6 min.

Views to date: 879

4 Comments

  1. Maryellen DesForge November 17, 2022 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Is sheet music (piano accompaniment with vocal, perhaps) available of Dr. Mary Rorro’s compositions?

  2. Frank Roman November 17, 2022 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Beautiful. Thank you . Just wish you were closer so I could see and enjoy our music.
    Did anyone video your performance so it can be shared with other veterans?

  3. joseph hammond November 17, 2022 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    Congratulations Dr. Rorro! She is my psychiatrist at the Brick, NJ vet clinic.

  4. Rev. Dorothy Smith Wilson November 10, 2022 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing and blessing us all with your gifts and talents from the heart. Love and Prayers. Servant

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