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UCLA Magazine Fall 2003
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Fall 2003 Bruin Walk

Rockin’ for kids

Rockin’ for kids
Rockin’ for kids
Reed Hutchinson '71,
UCLA Photographic services

By Marie Loggia-Kee

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 noise.

It’s not 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.

Pseudopod regularly 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” ( 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.

Through music, 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 liked it.”

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.”

© 2005 The Regents of the University of California