Holiday Harmonikids Session at the Shriner's Children's Hospital, Los Angeles


On December 16, 2015 I gave a Hohner-sponsored Holiday Harmonikids session to the Shriner's Children's Hospital, bringing healing joy to over a dozen child patients, members of their families, and hospital staff. It was a fun and cheerful session starting with a concert in which I played and the children sang along. Afterwards all attendees were amazed at the speed and accuracy in which they learned to play four songs on their new Hohner-donated instruments - including Jingle Bells and Silent Night. Please read Child Life therapist and director Natalie Chicas' commentary about the many therapeutic benefits the session provided. Although photography of the kids smiling faces that day was not permitted in the facility, the photo of the happy “harmonica-heart” that all of the children displayed to show their love for their new-found talent at this joyous holiday session says it all.  

~ Gary Allegretto, Founding Director of Harmonikids,

On behalf of the patients and staff, I would like to thank Gary Allegretto and Harmonikids for visiting us at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Los Angeles on December 16, 2015. Thanks also to Hohner for the harmonicas. The patients and families enjoyed the harmonica lessons so much. I was surprised in how easy this was for the patients. The techniques that were shown really made it easy and effective for ALL patients who were participating; even for a patient who only had one hand to play with. After the lesson a family of three came up to me and let me know how they enjoyed the lesson and happy to have experienced it with someone so professional and kind. They even mentioned that they liked it so much they were going to practice and maybe put on a show for their family!  I was able to observe how fun this was for our patients and how they were easily distracted from their hospitalization which is one of the benefits of having programs just like this harmonica lessons.

At Shriners Hospitals we specialize in treating patients with burn scars, orthopedic conditions and limb deficiencies completely free of charge. Personal visits, special events and programs such as Harmonikids REALLY encourage our staff and nurture our patients to grow and heal. Again, on behalf of Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Child Life & Recreation Therapy department, thank you for your visit!

~ Natalie Chicas, Child Life and Recreational Therapy Department, Shriners Hospitals for Children-Los Angeles

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