Many profound experiences happen when performers go to a hospital and interact with the kids and families there. Here is a sampling of stories from various performers:
From Chris Campbell:
I went to the room of a young boy. I said my hello, but he didn’t talk to me at all and it was obvious he didn’t feel well. So, I grabbed my guitar and went right into a song. After the first verse, the boy turned to his Mom and cracked a smile. His Mom turned to the window as to not show her emotion.
Later that morning, the Education Director told me how touched the boy’s mother was by the visit and that she had asked how she could donate to Pickleberry Pie. Evidently her son had not made any kind of smile or happy expression in months. With a simple personal visit and a song, some light entered the room and a mother and son experienced a beautiful family moment.
From Bill Wellington:
There was one teenage girl who was there for a regular treatment which involved putting an IV in her arm. This girl was scared about the procedure and I could hear her crying and yelling before I went in the room. I didn’t know what to do, so I simply sat and played a banjo tune without saying much. I began to talk calmly to her about music and the different instruments. She became more and more interested and calmed down considerably. The simple distraction was beneficial, and the calming effect of music was apparent.
From Silly Goose & Val:
Val Smalkin, remembers a hospital visit where a little girl was so very sick and angry about being in the hospital that she made sarcastic and destructive remarks about Val’s puppet, Silly Goose. “I think she’ll break her leg.” Or, “Maybe she’ll get squashed.” The lovely news is that 15 minutes into Silly Goose & Val’s songs and comedy, that same little girl was smiling and ready to give a hearty hug to Val and her puppets. Comedy and music are healing, for sure.
From Two of a Kind:
We were visiting a hospital on New Year’s Eve day and we went to the room of a baby all hooked up to machines. His parents and grandparents were there and a lot of doctors and nurses. We sang “Twinkle, Twinkle” and “Wheels on the Bus.” The baby looked at us.
His mother asked if we would sing his favorite song, “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.” When we sang it, everybody joined in and the baby smiled. This made all the parents and grandparents cry and we knew it was a very emotional moment. Several months later, the family tracked us down and let us know that their baby J.R. died the next morning, but that our visit and J.R.’s smile were a precious memory for the family.
From Courtney Campbell:
I entered a hospital room occupied by a grandmother, mother and her 18-month baby boy. He was covered with an IV’s and wires. The baby was listless when I entered. The mother said that he loved music and he used to clap and enjoy it. But he had been unresponsive to it for the last month. Her sorrow was evident.
I sang and played guitar carefully so as not to startle the child. By the end of the first verse the boy opened his eyes and looked at me. The mother encouraged him. Then he smiled and clapped his little hands. The mother started crying and clapping with him. The grandmother started to cry and clap.
The mother was still crying, hugging that little boy, talking to him, so happy he had responded and was more alive again. It was a beautiful moment for all of us. For me it was a continuing testament to the true healing power of music.