Fall 2003 Bruin
Reed Hutchinson '71,
UCLA Photographic services
A boy toddles
by with his diaper peeking out from his hospital gown. His hands cover
his ears as the music fills the space. Then he spies a box full of instruments,
grabs two maracas, one red and one yellow, and throws his body into making some
every day that musicians visit UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital.
But on this afternoon, Kevin Carlberg (top, left), Ross Grant ’01 (top,
right) and Matt Keegan (not shown) — three members of the rock band Pseudopod,
formed by five UCLA students in 1998 — were busy playing some tunes and
handing out percussion instruments to members of their young audience.
performs for pediatric patients while on tour. (The week before, the band opened
for Dave Matthews in St. Louis.) Lead singer Carlberg started the program “Rockin’
For Kids” (rockinforkids.org) after undergoing surgery to remove a brain
tumor at UCLA Medical Center in November 2002.
Carlberg says he
knows firsthand the monotony of being in a hospital, staring at the walls. Before
his surgery, Carlberg’s mom brought in his guitar and he played in the
courtyard, surrounded by friends and family.
Carlberg says, he wants to bring hope, a respite from desperate situations and
a smile to the faces of ill kids across the country. Performing in hospitals
helps elevate the spirits of the band along with those of the children, he adds.
“We could be in the worst mood in the world when we walk in,” Carlberg
explains. “And then afterward ... well, today I don’t have any worries.”
On her third hospital
stay in six months for a brain tumor, 8-year-old Maddison Franks (bottom, far
left) sat next to an oversized teddy bear in the front row and rattled a tambourine.
When asked what she thought of the show, Maddison smiles shyly and says, “I
Her mother, Holli
Franks, says she is thankful for the diversion the music offers Maddison from
watching TV. “It’s definitely uplifting,” Franks says. “It
kept Maddison busy and broke her out of her routine.”