Johnny and Ginger Mercer once experienced a family member receiving the attentive and personal care that Children’s Hospital Los Angeles provides and, in return, for more than 20 years now, The Johnny Mercer Foundation has given back to the hospital in the best way that it can – with the gift of music and songwriting to their patients.
The Mark Taper – Johnny Mercer Artists Program has brought together local artists and performers with registered and certified creative arts therapists to bring the healing power of music to patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The hospital doctors can “prescribe” music and art therapy to their patients and Board-Certified, specially trained therapists use music to soothe infants in the NICCU, encourage patients to play drums in the rehabilitation gym and teach songwriting as a process for working through a painful procedure or experience, among other activities. The program staff collaborates with the entire treatment team at the hospital, including doctors, nurses and therapists. Volunteers and musical performance groups provide music appreciation and educational activities and perform for patients and their families in waiting rooms and play areas. Special guests like Seal, Bruno Mars and the Jonas Brothers have even put on mini-concerts for patients at the hospital.
In 2011, the Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion opened, offering a dedicated space for the program called the “Creative Oasis.” Patients can have free time in the Oasis to explore and learn about music and art from teachers and volunteers.
The songs of Johnny Mercer and those of the Great American Songbook have proven to be a wonderful tool for Children’s Hospital. The Mercer song “Accentuate The Positive” is an anthem for dealing with tough times that people of any age can instantly understand. For some patients, this program is their very first exposure to these timeless songs and to the art of songwriting, which has become an important tool in helping patients find their voice, express their thoughts and feelings and narrate their legacy into song.
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is one of the finest academic pediatric medical centers in the country, ranked fifth in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. The hospital treats the whole child, not just the symptoms of injury and disease—a commitment that is reflected in its simply-stated mission: We create hope and build healthier futures. The Johnny Mercer Foundation is honored to aid Children’s Hospital in that mission.