Music to the ears of hospital patients
By Christian Wiessner
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Patients in hospitals and healthcare facilities are often too sick to attend musical concerts, so a charity is bringing the music to them.
Musicians on Call, a non-profit organization, has organized bedside performances of live or recorded music for 125,000 patients since it was formed in 1999.
"People in hospitals are really hurting, emotionally and in a lot of other ways, and if we can do something then it's a great thing to do and it means a lot," said composer and musician Michael Bacon.
Bacon, along with his actor/musician brother Kevin, hosted a packed concert at New York's Hard Rock Cafe on Tuesday to raise money for the charity.
Musicians on Call provides room-to-room hospital performances by both local musicians and national celebrities, who have included John Mayer, Gavin DeGraw, Avril Lavigne and Kelly Rowland.
"It's a simple idea but results in a lot of positive force in recovery," said singer James Taylor. who performed at the concert.
Grammy-award winner Taylor, who has battled depression and drug dependency, understands the importance music holds in any recovery process.
"I'm sure that it saved my life. I know that it makes a direct spiritual connection, that it's a short cut to your soul and heart," he said at the concert.
"It just puts you in a better place and reminds you of the kindness of the world and the beneficence of existence," Taylor, who will begin a tour of the US and Europe this summer, added.
The concert is one of a series Michael and Kevin and their band The Bacon Brothers, who will release their new album "New Year's Day next month, will be performing at Hard Rock Cafes across the United States to raise money for the group.
Kevin Bacon says that while acting and songwriting have their unique challenges, his approach to both is the same.
"It's different skills but there's still a way of trying to reach inside and express something. When it's good it's not by rote, and music and acting are real similar that way," he said.
The actor showed a sense of humor about his ubiquitous presence in films over nearly three decades, which spawned the trivia game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon."
When asked whether there may be fans of his music who have never seen his films, Bacon replied with a laugh, "Who possibly could never have seen a movie that I'm in. What rock would they be living under."
(Editing by Patricia Reaney)