Posted on May. 9, 2014 (
The words “concert” and “children’s hospital” don’t typically appear in the same sentence. The Melodic Caring Project is changing that.
Each month, founder Levi Ware comes to MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital with a local musician to perform a concert in a playroom on the sixth floor. The playroom concert streams to patient rooms for kids unable to leave their hospital beds.
Ware and his wife, Stephanie, founded the Melodic Caring Project in 2011 following a local benefit concert for a girl diagnosed with Leukemia in their community. The girl was in a hospital on the date of the show. Ware decided to stream the concert live so she could be a part of it and included personalized messages to encourage her.
After the show Ware and his wife realized they were on to something.
“We did a few more programs just to prove to ourselves it wasn't a fluke – that kids really are impacted and respond to the music and personal message,” Ware said. “Once we were completely convinced, we dove in headlong, forming the 501(c)3 and launching the program.”
This month, Benjamin Doerr of Seattle band St. Paul de Vence joined Ware with his guitar and charango at Mary Bridge. Jaxson, a 17-month-old boy staying in the hospital, not only watched the performance in the playroom, he played two tambourines.
“That’s some great percussion,” Ware said. “For those of you in your rooms, feel free to play along, too. Grab something, anything, and make some music with us.”
Stephon Davis, 8, watched from his hospital room with him mom, Jasmine.
“He was dancing when they started playing guitar. I had to calm him down,” Jasmine said. “He has a guitar at home. Music goes a long way for him. His favorite song is â€˜Happy.’”
Most of Doerr’s shows are 21 and older. He appreciates how the program gives kids access to music with a personalized touch.
“For kids who are working through some really tough stuff – medically and emotionally – to get an evening where a band is playing for them and speaking to them through the camera plus the healing music energy is powerful,” Doerr said.
Doerr is a parent, too, and believes in the impact the program has on families.
“I only hope I could have a portion of the courage that the parents and kids I met today have in facing their challenges. It’s really scary and it reminds me to be deeply grateful for all the good moments.”
After the concert, Doerr and Ware spent time with kids in the playroom and let them try their hands at the guitar and mandolin. They also gave kids toys donated at a recent Melodic Caring Project concert and visited patient rooms.
“What we want this to be is an incredibly easy but impacting tool that helps hospital staff support the kids in their care,” Ware said.
Jen Rittenhouse is the social media manager for MultiCare and Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. She writes stories that connect people with hospitals, health care and each other. You can reach her at [email protected]
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