17-year-old cellist, Khari Joyner, from Atlanta, GA, is passionate about music’s power to heal. During his interview on From the Top’s live taping in El Paso, TX (airing the week of October 19), Khari spoke about his experience overcoming lymphoma cancer last year and how music and the power of positive thinking helped get him through the rough times.
A few weeks after his appearance on From the Top, Khari performed for patients at Emory Hospital-Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“I wanted to do this event because I wanted more than anything to give back to the community; especially at a place where I was treated last year for a serious illness.”
We asked Khari to share his experience…
FTT: Why did you want to perform at this hospital?
Khari: The main reason I wanted to do this is because I was treated myself for a serious illness last year and spent some time in the hospital recovering.
I saw firsthand the difficulties and stressful atmosphere that hospitals can have; especially for the parents who are with their children as well. Many times these patients need something to look forward to or something that will encourage them to stay positive.
I wanted to do this especially at the Emory Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Hospital because this was where I was treated and received abundant care and support.
FTT: What did you hope to communicate to the patients?
Khari: I wanted them to feel uplifted and enlightened by the music. I wanted to express my feelings and emotion to them and let them know that they can do whatever they want to do if they keep a positive, bright attitude. I also wanted them to relinquish whatever worries or anxiety they may have.
FTT: What was the experience like?
Khari: I performed in two locations in the hospital. I gave the first performance in the waiting room for cancer and blood disorders. Although this was the first time I had done this kind of performance, I could tell everyone who was there (of all ages literally!) appreciated it and enjoyed it.
I wanted to give something special to people who might not have been feeling well or who may have been stressed/upset because of medical concerns.
I performed many pieces and shared a little bit about my experience in the hospital. I will never forget the way people kept stopping by to listen!
I initially had somewhat of a smaller audience. But by the time I was almost finished, I had close to three times the amount of people from the start! Doctors and nurses opened up their office doors to hear me and were all very moved. Word spread quickly that I was outside in the waiting room performing!
The next set of performances I did that day was even more moving. I was asked by one of the nurses who had treated me if I could play for kids and families in the blood infusion rooms.
As I walked back into the rooms, I saw people (some of whom were my age) who were being given blood transfusions and hooked up to IV monitors. Some of these patients had cancers while others had been treated for blood disorders, such as sickle-cell anemia.
Once I started performing for them, I could see that they became extremely moved. Some were even brought to tears.
After performing, it made me stop and think about how I really had an impact on these patients. Their parents came up to me afterwards and expressed just how grateful and glad they were to see me doing what I had done and what I love doing!
An experience like this one was one of my favorite because it really proved the old adage: Music really heals and has the power to cure! I will never forget it and would love to do another in the future.
From the Top comes to Atlanta on November 4, 2009 to tape a radio broadcast. More information is available through fromthetop.org’s online calendar.