For more than a decade, the Purple Songs Can Fly recording studio at Main Campus has offered a place for cancer patients and patients with blood disorders to express how they feel about their disease and the treatments they are undergoing to battle it. Siblings of such patients also are able to use the studio.
Thousands of songs have been written and produced in the colorful space sandwiched between clinic rooms on the 14th floor of the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. Now, a similar space is available to cancer and hematology patients cared for at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.
“Today, we’ve cut the ribbon on our second Purple Songs Can Fly recording studio,” said Purple Songs Can Fly Founder and Executive Director Anita Kruse. “We’ve had a studio at Main Campus since 2006 and now we’ve opened one at West Campus.”
Thanks to support from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Children’s Fund, Kruse has been coming out to West Campus for two years with a portable recording studio, working with patients at their bedside, in clinic rooms or conference rooms to write and produce nearly 100 songs.
“This pilot project proved that a permanent recording studio would be a viable investment at West Campus, Kruse said. “The children were really excited about writing songs here. I feel that the studio and the songs that will be written at West Campus will bring a lot of joy to the families and the children who are here undergoing treatment.”
West Campus Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers Nurse Manager Judy Holloway said the transformation and the impact that Purple Songs Can Fly has on patients, families and staff is remarkable.
“We see miracles happen in the Cancer and Hematology Centers here at West Campus and this studio is a miracle in itself,” Holloway said. “A lot of our children are very sick. Having this available to them here at West Campus is a true blessing.”
Annalisa Cuano, a singer, songwriter and highly trained sound engineer, will manage the recording studio at West Campus. She has been working with Purple Songs Can Fly for two years at Main Campus and has recently spent a lot of her time at West Campus getting the studio ready for its official opening.
“The goal is to get these children out of their heads and able to share who they are and what they are going through in the purple space,” Cuano said. “It’s really incredible to watch. There’s some kind of self-fulfillment or self-validation when you give them their CD.”
Kruse said she is grateful to everyone at Texas Children’s who has helped make the West Campus studio become a reality and is thankful for the funds she received to build and staff the studio. Texas Children’s West Campus Child Life Department supported the build out of the space to prepare it for construction and grants from the Children’s Fund provided funding for the construction of the studio, paid for all of the equipment inside the studio and helped staff the studio for a year.
Carol Herron, coordinator of the Periwinkle Arts In Medicine Program, said she looks forward to hearing the music and seeing the smiles on the faces of the composers at the West Campus Purple Songs Can Fly studio.
“What you do makes a difference in the day of a child undergoing treatment of a serious disease,” Herron said to those involved in Purple Songs Can Fly. “Thank you for the gift you give to these families.”