MEDSTOCK 2008: rocking out for a cause

MEDSTOCK founder Matthew Willey, a first-year PM&R resident at University of Florida plays electric guitar for Deny the Fall, one of four band who performed in MEDSTOCK 2008, a fundraiser rock concert, Nov. 14 at Rum Runners. Photo by Priscilla Santos

Dr. Matthew Willey, a medical intern at UF, plays electric guitar for Deny the Fall, one of four band who performed in MEDSTOCK 2008, a fundraiser rock concert. Photo by Priscilla Santos

In the mind of Dr. Matthew Willey, medicine and rock ‘n’ roll go together.

The 2008 College of Medicine graduate, currently interning in medicine, wrote about the perfect duo in his personal statement when applying for a residency with the department of orthopaedics and rehabilitation at UF.

“A personal statement for a physical medical residency and it’s about rock?” Willey began in his statement. “But please do not judge too quickly, for my passion for physical medicine is reflected in my music experience.

“As you will see, the principles that I have learned during my years as a musician are the same that, I believe, constitute a successful PM&R practice,” he continued.

A musician since his undergrad years, Willey met classmates during his second year of medical school in 2005 who were of his same breed– medical students during the day and local rock stars at night. After he realized there was a strong need to fund college medical mission trips, Willey said he put “two and two together” and MEDSTOCK was born.

The annual rock concert that highlights the talents of COM students while raising money for international health outreach trips at UF was the “perfect solution,” according to Willey.

“I figured the event would work out great for everyone,” said Willey, who plays electric guitar for Deny the Fall. “The mission trips would receive a lot of money, the bands would play in front of a lot of people and the audience would have a great time — all while showcasing rock ‘n’ roll.”

In just three years, MEDSTOCK has become an event medical students, residents and music lovers look forward to every year.

This year’s MEDSTOCK wasn’t any different — it raised close to $2,400.

With more than 400 attendees, MEDSTOCK 2008 took place Friday, Nov. 14 at Rum Runners, a bar located in downtown Gainesville and featured the Pudendals, Substance P, Deny the Fall and East Waldo Road ‘Stunnaz’.

The funds have been split equally among the five trips planned for spring break ’09, including two to the Dominican Republic and one each to Haiti, Ecuador and the Yucatan.

“Looking out from the stage, it appeared as if we were actually touring musicians with a throng of dedicated fans,” said Ben Kretzmann, fourth-year medical student and bassist for Substance P and Deny the Fall. “It felt wonderful to know we had a throng of dedicated friends.”

All four MEDSTOCKs have been successful and have raised a total of almost $9,000.

“MEDSTOCK 2007 was the largest, as 700 people showed up to have their faces rocked off,” Willey said.

Although it’s fun to play in front of a large amount of people, the COM musicians have learned to put on a show and have a good time whether there are three or 300 people in the audience.

“I don’t really focus on the crowd too much,” Willey added. “I just try to have fun rocking out with the rest of the band.”