Nonprofit brings Nils Lofgren to Phoenix Children's Hospital

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Nils Lofgren sang four songs with his guitar at the Phoenix Children's Hospital. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Nils Lofgren sang four songs with his guitar at the Phoenix Children's Hospital. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The free 30-minute concert took place in the hospital's playroom called "The Zone" thanks to Musicians on Call, a nonprofit based out of New York. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The free 30-minute concert took place in the hospital's playroom called "The Zone" thanks to Musicians on Call, a nonprofit based out of New York. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Other volunteers with Musicians on Call visited patients bedside to sing them a song in person. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Other volunteers with Musicians on Call visited patients bedside to sing them a song in person. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

A member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band performed for patients and their families at the Phoenix Children's Hospital on Tuesday.

Nils Lofgren sang four songs with his guitar, including his own Wonderland, and covers of Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, Sam Cooke's It's a Wonderful World and Neil Young's Long May You Run.

The free 30-minute concert took place in the hospital's playroom called "The Zone" thanks to Musicians on Call, a nonprofit based out of New York dedicated to bringing live music to hospitals. The idea is to help patients heal through the power of music that can improve blood pressure, manage stress, alleviate pain and improve pain tolerance.

Ten-year-old Ryder Lucas and his parents had front row seats. He, like the other 20-plus kids in the room, had no idea who Lofgren was until today.

Lucas was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and said the performance really cheered him up.

"It's been very fun down here, especially since it's my first time at a hospital and getting shots and pills," he said.

Seven-year-old Violet Vega Hiralez was one of the 20-plus kids able to leave her hospital room to see the concert. Her grandmother, Rosalie Vela, said she's been in the hospital since July 18 recovering from a car crash.

"We're looking at a dark tunnel and we're hoping there's a light at the end and we're struggling to hang on," said Vela.

However, Tuesday's performance made a difference in the whole family's mood.

"It's great, just to be away. It makes your heart glad to smile again after being cooped up in a room," she explained.

That's the type of reaction that's music to medical professionals' ears.

"It's very important to give kids and families a break from the normal routine of hospitalization," explained Teresa Boeger, the director of family center care at Phoenix Children's Hospital. "We know that hospitalization can be long and painful and when we have a musical performance, we know that assists in the healing process."

Lofgren believes in Musicians on Call's mission and was more than happy to volunteer his time. This was his first time performing at Phoenix Children's Hospital. 

"It's something that's different from playing a stage with a big band or group setting. It's more personal," said Lofgren, who called the experience rewarding.

Patients who are unable to leave their beds were able to watch his performance live on the hospital's closed-circuit TV channel.

Other volunteers with Musicians on Call visited patients bedside to sing them a song in person.

Lofgren's visit commemorates the one year anniversary of the Musicians on Call bedside program in Phoenix. Since 1999, volunteers with Musicians on Call has played for 600,000 patients. Southwest Airlines was also a partner in Tuesday's event.

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