The ReMissions Are Ready to Rock

By Amanda Sangster - August 30, 2021

When Dr. Patrick Hwu left Texas for Florida, he said adieu to his many musical friends and local band he played in. Having played in a band for more than 30 years, Hwu understands the value in having a meaningful creative outlet while dealing with a high-pressure job. Upon arrival in Tampa, the new Moffitt Cancer Center CEO set out to find the same synergy he had back in the Lone Star State and began recruiting fellow team members to create a new band at the cancer center.

Teamed with a multidisciplinary group of musically gifted Moffitt team members, Hwu is ready to take the Tampa music scene by storm. Whether playing an intimate rooftop concert or performing for a crowd of patients and staff, The ReMissions are ready to share their sound with the world. Named in honor of the one thing that every cancer patient hopes for — their disease to be in remission — they want their positive message to highlight the great work Moffitt is doing to fight cancer.

“Being in a band is really about teamwork,” said Hwu. “As opposed to being a solo performer, the role in a band isn’t to just play, but to hear and listen to everyone else. That’s what we do here that makes Moffitt so special. We’re a team. We listen to each other, work together and make harmony together.” 

Meet The ReMissions

Dr. Dana Ataya, Breast Radiologist, Vocals

  • Learned piano at age 5, acoustic guitar at age 12 
    Dr. Dana Ataya has reddish hair and is singing into a microphone while wearing a black blazer, black blouse and layered necklace.
    Dr. Dana Ataya, vocals
  • Currently learning to play the harmonica
  • Favorite song to jam to: It changes day to day but Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason” is her current fave
  • Favorite Concert: Nickel Creek
  • Currently listening to: “It’s All Right” by Jon Batiste

Music was a huge part of Ataya’s family life growing up. She grew up singing along with her maternal grandmother who was also a talented vocalist. Her mother took note of her natural gifts at a young age and introduced her to piano. She’s been playing ever since. A fan of all genres of music, she feels most at home belting out a good soul or jazz song. Why is music good for the soul? Ataya responds with a quote from Hans Christian Andersen, “Where words fail, music speaks.”

Follow her on Twitter: @DanaAtayaMD

Dr. Patrick Hwu, President and CEO, Medical Oncologist, Researcher, Keyboard

  • Plays keyboard, piano, guitar and trumpet

    Dr. Patrick Hwu looks down while playing a keyboard and wearing a light blue shirt with rolled up sleeves.
    Dr. Patrick Hwu, keyboard
  • Favorite decade of music is 1975-85
  • Loves all kinds of music but rock ’n’ roll and blues are his favorites
  • Favorite song to jam to: “Stormy Monday,” The Allman Brothers Band’s version
  • Favorite concert: Queen
  • Currently listening to: Boston and Fleetwood Mac

Raised by parents that loved classical music and musicals, Hwu grew up listening to his parents’ vast record collection. He began formal piano lessons in third grade but started playing rock ’n’ roll and blues in high school. He grew up in St. Albans, West Virginia, but he traveled to the Tampa Bay area to play trumpet with his high school marching band in the 1981 Gasparilla Parade. When not jamming out with The ReMissions on the keyboard, he can be found playing the mellower tunes of James Taylor on the guitar. If he could play with any musician, dead or alive, he says Freddie Mercury is at the top of the list, which is appropriate since the first concert he attended was Queen. Why is music good for the soul? "It nourishes your creative side, inspires and enhances resiliency," said Hwu. "Our number one rule for the band is to have fun!"

Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickHwuMD

Jeff Leighton, Registered Nurse, Intensive Care Unit, Bass

  • Plays bass and guitar 

    A black and white image shows Jeff Leighton wearing a backwards baseball cap while playing bass.
    Jeff Leighton, bass
  • Has been playing in bands for 45 years
  • Mostly listens to classic rock, progressive rock and jazz
  • Favorite song to jam to: “Stormy Monday”
  • Favorite concert: Pink Floyd and The Alan Parsons Project
  • Currently listening to: Whatever The Remissions are currently playing. “We have a large repertoire!”

Leighton was introduced to music by his mother, who used to watch “American Bandstand” every afternoon when he was growing up. He also credits Detroit radio for igniting his passions for all types of music including the blues, R&B, Motown and soul. He wishes he could jam out with Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix or The Doors. Why is music good for the soul? Leighton feels grateful and blessed to be able to perform. “Playing music feeds the soul like nothing else I have encountered,” he said. “It amazes me how a group of people can make magic out of thin air.”

Follow him on Twitter: @JeffLeightonRN

Dr. James Mulé, Researcher, Associate Center Director of Translational Science, Guitar

  • Plays electric guitar, acoustic guitar and the lute 
    Dr. James Mule wears a gray shirt while holding a guitar that has TNT High Explosives written across it. He stands in front of his collection of guitars.
    Dr. James Mulé, lead guitar
  • Has a collection of 29 guitars
  • Plays solely by ear
  • Favorite music genres include blues and hard rock
  • Favorite song to jam to: “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin
  • Favorite concert: The Who at Madison Square Garden
  • Currently listening to: Pearl Jam and Radiohead

Mulé was introduced to music at a very young age when his grandfather took him to the New York Metropolitan Opera on Sundays. Later, he found himself listening to the greats at famous music club CBGB. A self-taught guitarist, he learned how to play solely by ear when he was in high school, but eventually learned techniques from the top guitar instructors in Detroit, Chicago and Tampa. If he could jam out with anyone, it would be Steve Howe, the famous guitarist of the English progressive rock band Yes. Mulé says playing music is good for the soul because it challenges him.

Follow him on Twitter: @DrJamesMule

Ron Zalva, Security, Drums

  • Plays drums, conga drums and timbales
    Ron Zalvo wears a black shirt while holding his drumsticks across his chest with both hands.
    Ron Zalvo, drums  
  • Loves all genres of music
  • Favorite song to jam to: Too many to name!
  • Favorite concert: Santana
  • Currently listening to: Everything, but recently ’80s and ’90s rock

Zalva started playing drums at only 5 years old. By age 12, he already had his own band, The Shantelles. Playing in bands has been a huge part of his life, and he continued his passions while playing in The Paragons. If he could play with anyone, dead or alive, it would be “The Drum Wonder” himself, Buddy Rich. He loves all genres of music including jazz, rock ’n’ roll, blues, soul and Latin. Zalva believes that music feeds the soul and says his favorite quote is, “Music is what feelings sound like.”

Follow him on Twitter: @RonnyZ85728502



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