On June 15th I had the pleasure of performing at Camp Kon O Kwee in Fombell, PA for Dr Bill Neeche’s Heart Camp for Kids. What a great time this was! We were booked as The Sawyer Stepp Trio but it actually turned out to be The Smoking Birdz who performed. Same musicians except I play bass instead of electric guitar and Sawyer plays electric guitar instead of acoustic. It turns out this was a good move as these kids came out to party!
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Heart Camp is a week long camp for kids that have had serious heart conditions and surgery. The ages range from 8-18. It was started by Dr Bill Neeche who has since retired but still makes a visit to the camp. The kids are offered an opportunity to spend a week with others who have endured the same hardships of surgery along with the joys of healing.
There is about 20 staff members on hand, some Dr’s, nurses and assistants. The camp is owned by the YMCA. It’s a beautiful camp with plenty of activities! I saw archery, swimming, golf and plenty of land for walking or sports. The hall in which we played was grand!
We started the show with “You are My Sunshine” and apparently far to mellow for these energetic youngsters. Our second number number was “Folsom Prison Blues” and with that, the floor was filled with dozens of dancing, clapping youngsters have a great time! We knew they wanted to boogie so we gave em “Mustang Sally”, “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Pipeline” and “Johnny B Goode”, “Rock This Town” and a few other upbeat tunes.
I have to thank Wendy Koulouris for asking us to perform. She also sang a few songs with us and led all 150 kids in a round of “lean on Me” for the final song. Wendy works for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, PA and is one of the life flight personnel. She is also a popular singer in the AK Valley area and through music is how we became friends. (Check out her website and the post I wrote about her band, The Mercs.)
I can honestly say this was the best gig I’ve played in 2016. At times the cheers and claps were deafening. These kids truly appreciated the music! After the show, they presented us with a beautiful heavy duty poster with our name, “The Sawyer Stepp Trio” on it, the date and best of all, hand signed by each child! We were all given a T-Shirt too, which we proudly wore for the show!
I wish each and every one of these kids a happy and healthy life. It was an honor to be a part of thier 2016 heart camp activities!