Almost by fate, when James Marples watched a YouTube clip of a performance by American singer song writer Allen Stone and heard a dedication to seriously ill children thanks to a charity called the Melodic Caring Project, he felt inspired to contact them to see if he could help their cause in any capacity.
It became clear upon contacting Founder and CEO, Levi Ware, that the Melodic Caring Project was looking to expand its coverage of shows from the USA to Europe – the call had come just at the right time.
Based in Seattle, the charity was created by Levi and his wife Stephanie Ware (CFO), after a friend’s daughter became gravely ill with cancer and could not attend a fundraising concert that had been organised to help raise funds for her care. Levi explains, “Rather than cancel the concert, we realised we could tap into the Wi-Fi network at a coffee shop next door, stream it via a laptop to her, and she could virtually attend the show. After seeing how much it lifted her spirits, we realised we could bring the healing power of music to so many other kids, and the Melodic Caring Project was born.”
Since its formation the charity has live streamed shows for free to countless seriously ill children across the world, streaming artists such as The Black-Eyed Peas, Jason Mraz, Amos Lee, Allen Stone and Alabama Shakes. During shows, the artist name checks those watching which provides a huge morale boost to them when they could be feeling somewhat isolated or alone. Levi explains, “The impact of music on a sick child or adult is truly profound. When an artist gives a shout-out by name, it’s amazing to see how they light up. They often tell us a show streamed directly to them not only brings them joy, but actually can help alleviate the pain and struggle of their condition or treatment.”
The connection with the UK came along at the right time as the charity had an issue serving shows to children in different time zones in the USA. UK performances occur at a time that is perfect for children watching on the east coast of the country, whilst also offering the opportunity to deliver more content in Europe.
Working as Marketing Manager at Chesterfield College, James realised that when the connection was made with the charity, an incredible opportunity to benefit students had arisen. He contacted Ebony Pascall, Curriculum Manager of Media at Chesterfield College who agreed students would love to take part as part of their work experience placements.
From that point in 2017 the pair formed MCP UK which has helped to stream artists including The Sherlocks, Gregory Porter, Jools Holland, Jake Bugg, Caro Emerald, Becky Hill, Clare Teal, The Overtones, Lucy Spraggan and many more to seriously ill children across the UK and USA.
MCP UK has also linked with Chesterfield-based Ashgate Hospicecare to bring streams to adults too, a pilot project that has been incredibly well received by both staff and patients at the palliative care charity.
James explains, “Simply by accessing a URL on a mobile, tablet, laptop or TV, patients, or ‘rockSTARS’ as we call them, from the USA, UK, Australia, Japan and Europe have been able to watch shows and hear their name called out by artists and cheered by crowds wherever they are, even in quarantine/isolation post-surgery.”
The UK is the first country outside of the U.S in which the Melodic Caring Project has operated from and by partnering with Chesterfield College, means students gain amazing work experience in streaming the shows around the globe. Ebony says, “Our students thrive on it. They really look forward to the shows and feel so privileged to know what they are streaming through their camera lens is going to directly to people who sorely need to feel the healing power of music and that it makes such a difference. I’m incredibly proud of each of our MCP UK volunteers, they work so professionally and produce footage of a quality that a practising camera operator would be happy with.”
The free service is available to anyone battling serious illness and is simply just a case of signing up as a rockSTAR at https://melodiccaring.org Notices of upcoming shows are then sent out along with a link to watch on TV/tablet/phone/computer. James elaborates, “Our goal now is to expand the service to more and more patients up and down the UK and into Europe – we really do encourage anyone who is either facing serious illness or that knows someone who is currently battling illness to sign up for free and enjoy these shows.”
Cestrefeld Lodge no 3889 is proud to be supporting the Melodic Caring Project. Pictured outside Chesterfield College is Ebony Pascall and James Marples from Melodic Caring Project together with W Bro Frank Smith and the Worshipful Master of Cestrefeld Lodge Karl Shaw.