Part of ColaJazz’s multifaceted efforts to support the Midlands community comes in the form of sleepy-eyed jazz musicians arriving at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital before 10AM and promptly filling the lobby and upper floors with the sounds of jazz music. It might be a duo, trio or even a New Orlean’s style brass band, but it is always jazz and it is always played for the children and the staff.
ColaJazz Founder and Director Mark Rapp says, “Some of the kids we see are pushing around their own I.V. carts. Some of the kids have scattered patches for hair. Some have bandages or casts on. But some of the kids look like they’re on the rebound. Either way, when you’re playing music for them, you pour your heart out and do your best to help them have a moment of rest and wonderment – a moment of relief from their struggles.”
Playing jazz at such an early hour when it relates to the usual nighttime world of jazz is a non-issue for these ColaJazz Outreach artists. They’re smiling, joking and having a great time playing music together. They’re also aware of the little listeners that pass by in their hospital bed, the parents holding their child’s hand and the doctors and staff who stop for a moment to listen, recharge, and clear their mind for their next tasks.
Mark continues, “We played Happy Birthday for one little girl this morning. She was shy. She was pushing her I.V. cart around, wearing a mask. I could tell she was smiling underneath it though. We could see she appreciated these funny musicians playing a special concert just for her. These moments give a child strength to go into their next treatments. These moments give parents a chance to breathe and face the next set of tests with hope. These moments help the staff feel some creative joy and, if for a moment, alleviates the daily difficulties they face.”
Mark concludes, “The work we do is powerful. We do not take it for granted. We are honored to serve the children, their parents, doctors and staff at Prisma Health’s Children’s Hospital.”
Please consider supporting ColaJazz Outreach efforts.