COVID-19 numbers are surging among children, with more than 750,000 cases in kids recorded last month. That’s contributing to many hospitals being full capacity.
This is a time when doors are closed to guests who would usually bring a little light to hard hospital stays.
One crew is still bringing that light, and they say you just have to adapt. It seems like music just always brings on the best discussions, like the greatest guitarist of all time.
“It’s Chet Atkins,” said Wayne Jackson, speaking to two friends in his living room. “Chet. Chet’s always been my favorite.”
“You don’t like Eddie Van Halen?” asked Chuck Hamilton. “What’s wrong with you?!”
“I’m just not a rock guy,” Wayne smiled.
“I’m gonna stick with Eric Clapton,” said Sam English.
Best album of all time?
“It’s Sgt. Pepper’s!” said Wayne.
“It’s one of Eric Clapton’s, but I don’t remember which one it is,” Sam laughed.
Wayne, Sam, and Chuck do a little music themselves, a style called barbershop. The style is propelled today with the national Barbershop Harmony Society. The guys say it’s never more gratifying than in one particular way.
“So, we are the Nashville Music Medics,” said Wayne.
There are music medics all over the country, like in Miami and Seattle, where barber shoppers don scrubs and perform for hospital patients and staff.
Kelsey Bryant of Nashville’s Children’s Hospital at TriStar Centennial said their families love the guys.
“They’d get really excited and peek their head out and say, ‘We’re next! We’re next!” said Kelsey.
“To have these strange guys, and I mean, ‘strange’ coming into their hospital rooms, that’s a joyful thing,” laughed Chuck. “We provide a little bit of sunshine, I think.”
The guys who bring that sunshine know hospitals are seeing their share of dark days. COVID-19 stopped their performances for more than a year. They’d resumed for a few weeks before the surge of the delta variant meant there was no way they could come in and see those families.
“One day, we were singing and the next day we weren’t,” said Wayne. “It was hard. It was hard across the board.”
“It makes a huge difference in our patients’ lives when they have something like that,” said Kelsey.
Because of that, the guys agreed on something.
“There’s got to be a way to keep this moving,” said Sam.
But how? Then, they learned the children’s hospital has a YouTube page just for their patients. The Music Medics could record videos, just for the people at the hospital during these hard days.
“It’s a sense of joy, a real palpable sense of joy,” said Wayne.
“We love our guys dearly,” said Kelsey. “We can’t wait to have our guys back when it is safe.”
Something Wayne, Sam, and Chuck understand is how music, any kind of music, can bring so much good, so much sunshine. Sometimes you just have to adapt.
“That’s tremendously gratifying to know it’s still being enjoyed today, even though we’re not there,” said Chuck. “To me, that’s just wonderful.”