EVERYDAY HERO: Music Sweet Music for children in hospital

By Bill Murphy, Everyday Hero Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, November 27, 2017, 11:53 AM EST

This week's Everyday Hero is volunteering his time -- and using the soothing sounds of music -- to help children face their fears while in the hospital.

Music Sweet Music in South Pasadena was started about 16 years ago by musician, arranger and composer Ted Wagner after he became aware of music therapists and therapy while volunteering at All Children's Hospital.

"When they first walked into the room, they were all very scared and some of them had IV poles or were in wheelchairs," Wagner said. "And then as soon as the music therapists started with the music therapy, it was almost a magic transformation when almost all of the kids were feeling comfortable and were happy and singing."

The non-profit volunteer organization works with children facing physical and/or psychological challenges.

"As a musician, I'm a performer. As a music teacher, they teach," Wagner said. "A music therapist applies music for a specific outcome."

Wagner has never taken a salary. Over the years, he has witnessed what he feels can be called miracles.

"I've seen the music therapists doing the 'Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I' and stop, and I've heard a child blurt out 'O.'" And everybody broke into tears because that's the first word that came out of that child's mouth," he said.

Music Sweet Music is recognized and honored local and nationally, and Wagner said there are no plans to slow down.

"I feel the heroes are the children and the donors," he said. "I'm the facilitator, if you will."