A couple of years ago, Seattle musician Levi Ware performed at a benefit for an 11-year-old girl named Katie who was in the hospital fighting cancer. That’s when he had an epiphany.
“There was this great gathering of, like, 300 people there to support Katie but she was alone at Seattle Children’s Hospital,” Levi explains. “So we wanted her to feel the love and support that was in the room and we thought, ‘There’s got to be a way to get her involved other than just sending the money for the bills.’ So we streamed the show to her live in her hospital room and we called her afterward and she was bawling and we realized this is powerful. There is something here.”
So he created The Melodic Caring Project and has since streamed live music performances into hospital rooms for 150 sick kids. The musicians give a shout out to the kids who are watching, referring to them by name, and there’s a chat feature that lets the kids ask questions with them after the show.
Cassidy Huff, 11, has spent a lot of time in the hospital. She’s having her 30th back surgery this October.
“I have Conradi-Hunermann Syndrome,” says Cassidy. “It affects the spine. My right leg is three and a half inches shorter than my left. When I was one and a half they put titanium expandable rods in my back.”
So she has to have surgery every six months to adjust the rods. Cassidy says the concerts have been a huge treat.
“I love music. I’m kind of a musician myself, actually. I am a daredevil so if I’m stuck in a hospital bed I don’t really like it all. I don’t get to hang out with my friends. Or I don’t get to play guitar or clarinet or piano. I just get super bored and I don’t like getting bored.”
Cassidy’s mom, Shannon Reynolds, says the music makes the surgeries bearable.
“She was glued to her laptop and was so happy and so excited and just thrilled to have live music from somebody that she knows and loves. It really, truly is a healing experience. I mean, a kid that’s 24 hours post-op that is lethargic and doesn’t want to eat and is sort of surly and on narcotics and is not very friendly to anybody will gladly sit down at a computer and watch a concert.”
Singer-songwriter Mycle Wastman, who appeared on The Voice, has performed two Melodic Caring Project shows so far.
“It just puts a spiritual thing over the whole sound. It’s like, wow, these kids are watching us over there and they’re going through these struggles and I’m connecting with them right now. It’s really powerful. It makes it more emotional for me for sure.”
Through the project, the kids are called Rock Stars and the musicians are called Number One Fans. Levi says they enrich each others lives.
“We’ve seen more than one musician break down crying because it just adds so much significance to their passion. This thing they’ve always loved but all of a sudden has so much purpose and meaning.”
For Cassidy, meeting the musicians and immersing herself in the local music has become a big part of her life.
“It makes me feel amazing, like I can do anything.”
Parents can connect their kids with the project, bands can get involved and people can donate money or buy the new compilation CD by clicking here.