The sound of strumming ukuleles in unison can be heard every Thursday at noon outside of the Kids’ Zone Radio studios. That’s when a group of Texas Children’s employees come together to learn to play the ukulele. The group consists of men and women from various departments who have kindled a friendship over their new musical talents.
“When we started, it was really for the child life department for team building and self care, but people enjoyed coming and it grew,” said Music Therapist Amy Smith. “People who were in the group started inviting other people in the hospital who might want a break in their day, who might want to do some self care while here at work, to learn a new skill and meet new people.”
The group has now grown to 20 employees and continues to see more interest as word gets out about this sort of music therapy for employees. There is a lot of research to support the positive effects group music making can have on individuals. For Nurse Coordinator Amelia Sherinski, it’s a place to get away from the emotional task of working in hematology/oncology patients.
“There is a lot of emotional stress associated with my job,” Sherinski said. “It’s nice to take that mental break, come do something I’m really bad at, but have a good time doing it.”
The members of this team are by no means professional ukulele players. Most had never picked up the instrument before joining this group, but in preparation for Garth Brooks’ visit to dedicate the new Child Life Zone, the group prepared their own rendition of “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”
“Our tag line now is that the ukulele choir at Texas Children’s got to open for Garth Brooks,” Smith said. “That was a neat opportunity where they asked us to write a song and we decided to remake this famous song to instead say ‘deep in the heart of Texas Children’s’.”
But the choir isn’t just practicing for the next big celebrity to join, last year they did caroling on patient floors and they are even available to attend your next Texas Children’s event.
“It was so neat to give back to the children here at Texas Children’s in a different way than most of us are used to,” said child life specialist Laura Linville.
To join the Texas Children’s Ukulele Choir or request their talents for your next Texas Children’s event, contact Amy Smith.