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RSF SPOTLIGHT: Meet Our Charlotte Studio Manager

We’re shining the spotlight on some of the amazing people that help make our Seacrest Studios around the country so special.

MEET MEREDITH!

      

Meredith, the studio manager of Seacrest Studios at Levine Children’s Hospital takes having fun, seriously! Always smiling and ready to play, Meredith exudes positivity and has made being in studio such a special and exciting experience. Learn more about her in her own words:

  • How long you have worked at Seacrest Studios? About a year and a half! Since March 2016.
  • Favorite thing (game/activity, etc.) you do in studio: I dress up as Anna from Frozen every Wednesday to play Bingo and deliver prizes to all of our patients at Levine Children’s Hospital.
  • Most memorable studio guest (and why}: Our patients that host their own unique hour-long shows! Celebrity-wise, I would pick Madisyn Shipman from Nickelodeon’s Gameshakers. She was so touched from her studio visit that she created a once-in-a-lifetime “prom” experience for Joe, a cystic fibrosis patient, on her own time with the help of Levine Children’s Hospital.
  • Do you have a special hidden talent? I can make towel animals, speak French, N64 Master, human jukebox/identify any song faster than Shazam.

Thank you, Meredith, we are grateful for the time you have spent making Seacrest Studios such an awesome place to be. 

New Kids On The Block Visit Patients At Seacrest Studios Charlotte

Video by Intern, Isabella Branham
Blog Post by Intern, Robert Rubino

New Kids On The Block took time from The Total Package Tour to hang in Seacrest Studios at Levine Children’s Hospital. Since the band is originally from New England, they all agree that the south brings true “southern hospitality” along with the hustle and bustle of a big city. From north to south and coast to coast, NKOTB agrees that one of the most important things you can do while traveling is learn the culture from the people. Whether you wind up in a big city like Pittsburgh or a small town in Utah, everyone will have an interesting story that can connect people together with similarities or differences.

Since their most recent album, Thankful, released in May, it only seemed fitting to go around the room and have the boys share what they were all thankful for. It turned out that great minds do think alike and two members voted “family” while the other two voted for “the present.” When asked to elaborate, Danny and Jordan expressed their gratitude in being able to see or talk to their family between tours or recordings. Joe and Donnie both agreed that being able to “live in the now” must come in handy when the “adult world” becomes chaotic and stressful.

Taking a trip to the past, Joe and Danny were asked what their favorite childhood memories were and both shared what their favorite Christmas presents were. Joe recalled quite nostalgically about the day he walked into the dining room and seeing the ventriloquist doll he had been wanting for the past few months while Danny remembered receiving a Godzilla figure that he still keeps to this day. Before the times of Twitter and other forms of social media, the band mentioned how they would spend the whole day replying back to letters they received from their fans. However, letters definitely hold their own sort of charm to them since everyone’s handwriting is unique and receiving a handwritten letter from your favorite boy band is something anyone would always treasure.

Before leaving the guys were asked about advice for any of the patients going through tough times. Without hesitation, Jordan reminded Seacrest Studios that “children are stronger than we think” and are “much more accepting of tough situations” and that was inspiring.

It was great to see that NKOTB had not lost their childlike wonder and reminded Levine Children’s Hospital to be “thankful” for every minute that ticks by.

Patients at Seacrest Studios Charlotte Interview Dierks Bentley!

Written by: Seacrest Studios Intern, Lillie Burrow
Video by: Seacrest Studios Interns, Gracie Thompson & Sarah Ann Craven

We kicked off Dierks Bentley’s visit at Levine Children’s Hospital with a round of questions from our patients. We learned that his favorite Charlotte activity is visiting the Science Discovery Museum with his kids! In an extensi

During the interview, we learned Dierks has an affinity for vegetables, and if he were to have a statue made of him, he would pose with his fists in the air as if on stage in front of a cheering crowd. Dierks admitted that was one of his favorite questions, but our favorite moment was Dierks showcasing his version of the running man and attempting a DJ voice.

Dierks played a round of “Guess that Country Music Star,” and one could say he knew his colleagues pretty well. Dierks and Bryson even sang “Huntin, Fishin, and Lovin Every Day” together. Afterward, Gray quizzed Dierks on his favorite holiday and was so adamant Christmas is the best holiday that he convinced Dierks to change his answer from The Fourth of July to Christmas, too.

When asked whom he resembled, Dierks had the studio laughing when he humbly confessed he looks like Brad Pitt; however, a highlight of the visit was when he was asked, “What is one word you would use to describe yourself,” and Dierks said he hoped it would be grateful.

We sure are grateful for your visit, Dierks! Thanks for a fabulous afternoon full of fun games and unforgettable dance moves!

Madisyn Shipman Talks About “Game Shakers’ At Seacrest Studios!

Recap by Seacrest Studios Intern, Gwendolyn Gies
Video by Seacrest Studios Interns, Katie Anger and Nichole Mondshein

Madisyn Shipman from Nickelodeon’s Game Shakers visited Seacrest Studios at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC on Friday. A North Carolina native herself, Madisyn shared what she misses most about home when she has to film in California: the Southern food! “If it’s southern, it’s great,” she exclaimed. The patients in the studio were happy to hear that Madisyn’s favorite team is the Carolina Panthers. “I have to support the Panthers. I actually went to go see them against the Rams, and they won,” she said. “It was all over my Snapchat.”

When she isn’t eating Carolina BBQ or cheering on the Panthers, she is in California filming Game Shakers, a show about two Brooklyn seventh graders who start a multi-million dollar virtual gaming company. It’s a great show that focuses on girl power, specifically shining a light on female coders. Madisyn remarked that being on TV is “really surreal.” “It really hasn’t processed to me that I’m still on a Nickelodeon show,” she said. “Whenever you turn on the TV and see yourself, it’s just a weird feeling; but it’s pretty awesome because you’re inspiring so many young kids.”

Her favorite thing about being on Game Shakers is the cast and crew. “We have a special bond. We’re all best friends,” she explained. “The cast is amazing, and the crew, they’re just always looking out for us. If we ever need help with something, they’re always there for us.” Madisyn remembered the time the crew came to the rescue with some duct tape when she broke one of the computers during a run through after pushed it off a cart, sending it crashing to the floor. She told us that she is “the clumsiest person you will ever meet.” “I drop everything. I bet you, in at least every episode, I break at least one thing.”

Not to worry though because, as Madisyn explained, most of the technology you see on Game Shakers is actually green screen. When they film, the actors don’t know what they’re pointing to, or even what they’re playing. “We are just swiping, and tapping and doing whatever, and then they figure something out and put it in.” She personally doesn’t make the games that are featured in the show, but sometimes the Nickelodeon game makers and coders like the cast to play them and get a feel for it before they’re used on air.

As for Sky Whale, the featured game on Game Shakers that is available for download, Madisyn is, according to her, “the worst player,” boasting a score of a mere 300 points!

Thank you Madisyn for your special visit…we really enjoyed having you at Seacrest Studios!

 

Tucker Beathard Sings To Patients In Seacrest Studios Charlotte

Video Recap by: Nichole Mondshein, Seacrest Studios Intern
Blog by: Karleigh Holt, Seacrest Studios Intern 

We kicked off the new year at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte with a visit from Tucker Beathard! We learned about the inspiration behind his music and his advice to listeners on following their dreams. He said that he has “always been a believer in following your heart” and “tuning out what others say”. He showed his competitive side as he played the “Tucker 12” where he told us about his 12 favorites in under a minute.

Tucker’s interests range from football to dolphins to Reese’s Puffs to Spiderman! His country music knowledge was tested as he worked with a patient to fill in the blanks for the lyrics of the popular country song and its name. (As expected, the two got most of them right!) We also learned about his experience being a big brother as well as his fashion sense, where he told us about his cross necklace — he can’t leave home without it! To finish off the visit, Tucker sang and played guitar, performing an acoustic version of his most popular song, “Rock On” (as listeners sang along.) Following his performance, Tucker also spent time visiting patients’ rooms, signing autographs, and handing out guitar picks. Patients gladly accepted Tucker’s kind gifts and smiled proudly for their pictures with him. He met Bryson, a loyal Seacrest Studios fan, who couldn’t stop grinning as Tucker talked to him. Bryson introduced all of his stuffed animals to Tucker and even showed him his brand new John Deere tractor. We are so grateful for the time that Tucker spent with us and hope he will return back to Seacrest Studios soon!

 

Cast of The Wizard Of Oz Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Seacrest Studios Charlotte

Written by Seacrest Studios Intern, Megan Jurnak

Three members of the national touring company of the The Wizard of Oz brought a little bit of that Emerald City magic to patients and families at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sarah Lasko (Dorothy), Shani Hadjian (Wicked Witch), and Rachel Womble (Glinda) entertained everyone with tales of their experience in the travelling production along with words of advice and encouragement for everyone tuning in.

“The failure you can experience in show business can actually be exciting,” Lasko said. “Because when you fail really badly, that’s when you grow the most.”

But, even with the serious advice, there were many moments of laughter when the actresses discussed characters they admired in the production.

“I think if I could choose any character to be…I think I’d be toto,” Womble said. “He doesn’t have to do anything besides be carried around and eat cookies.”

“And he gets the most applause every night,” added Lasko.

Above all else, the cast members advised kids of all ages to follow their dreams and persevere through whatever challenges life could throw your way.

“It’s important to persevere and keep trying because theatre is a beautiful thing,” Hadjian said. “And it’s fun!”

The visit concluded with Lasko performing an exclusive in-studio performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that gathered a crowd of patients and families.

Many thanks to the cast of The Wizard of Oz for such a special visit!

Chris Janson Signs A Duet With Patient At Seacrest Studios Charlotte

No one was prepared for the magic – and music – that happened between country singer, Chris Janson, and a patient at Levine Children’s Hospital (LCH) in Charlotte, NC, when Chris made a tour stop at Seacrest Studios.

LCH patient, Ryan, asked Chris to sing his hit song, “Better I Don’t.” (Chris came with guitar and harmonica in hand.) What happened next held the crowd in Seacrest Studios spellbound! Chris began singing only to find that Ryan was backing him up, word-for-word, as he sang!  Watch the video to see the amazing, and awesome, duet!

As he sang songs and answered questions in the packed studio, Chris made sure to give some words of encouragement, along with an open invitation for patients to come to one of his concerts when they start to feel better.

Called “the future of country music,” Janson serenaded the crowd with the Top 10 Hot Country Songs hit, “Buy Me A Boat.”  He also delighted patients with the song he wrote for Tim McGraw called, “Truck Yeah.”

Patients learned about the early days of Chris’ career – how he went from sleeping in his car when he first got to Nashville – to how he learned to play the harmonica.  He even told patients about his nerves during his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry in 2013. “I don’t get nervous at a lot of shows or a lot of concerts or anything, but I get nervous over the Grand Ole Opry, and rightfully so, it’s the mother church of country music, and for me, personally, it was one of my top 3 goals I ever wanted to do with music.”

Thank you, Chris Janson, for bringing your music, your magic, and “Buy Me A Boat” to Seacrest Studios in North Carolina! We look forward to having you back soon!

MAX performs at Seacrest Studios

Singer, actor, and model, Max Schneider (MAX), met some very excited patients at Levine Children’s Hospital when he made a weekend appearance at Seacrest Studios in Charlotte, NC.  The 23-year-old, who got into show business when he was just 3 years old, has some major accomplishments under his belt already!  The 2010 YoungArts Theatre-winner has worked with Madonna, Victoria Justice, and the “Boys of Zummer” tour performers – Hoodie Allen, Fall Out Boy, and Wiz Khalifa.

Some of the patients who came to the studio to meet this diverse performer knew him as Zander from Nickelodeon TV’s How To Rock show, and from Nickelodeon’s hit original movie, RAGS. The DCD2 Records artist talked about his favorite vacation spot, what he would put into place if he were President for a day, and what it would be like to dance like James Brown!

MAX played a round of “Max It Out” – our version of Charades – and performed three songs for the crowd in the studio.

When asked whether he liked singing or acting more, MAX said, “I love music.  That’s where my heart is.”

MAX definitely has a big heart – and he shared it with patients and families in Seacrest Studios. Thanks for showing us How To Rock!

 

Chase Bryant Hangs With Patients At Seacrest Studios

American country singer/songwriter, Chase Bryant, walked his cowboy boots into Seacrest Studios at Levine Children’s Hospital and caused a country stir!  On tour with Tim McGraw and the Shotgun Rider Tour, Bryant is a few states away from his native Texas, and not far from his Nashville digs, but you would have thought him right at home in the Queen City.  “I’m glad to be in Charlotte!  I have a lot of friends here so it’s always a good time.”

About his relationship with Tim McGraw, Chase said, “We are good friends and I’m glad to workout with Tim.” Bryant told patients that Tim McGraw exercises a staggering 8-9 hours a day!  Bryant himself will “do about 2-4 hours with him.”  It’s hard to imagine exercising that much each day, but it seems to be part of the discipline that McGraw and this young country artist share.  “We are all good friends on the tour,” said Bryant.

Chase’s visit seemed to have special meaning for him because of a beloved brother he grew up with who had Stage 4 leukemia.  Bryant encouraged patients by telling the story of his brother who received a grim prognosis when he was young, but who has lived 28 years and is now cancer-free!  His words of support for patients going through illness right now made our day!

When speaking of his heroes, Chase said that Michael Jordan was the “king of my era.” He also talked about music he likes – Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” – which is his go-to karaoke song, along with TLC’s “Waterfalls.”

Taking the fast track to country music, Chase graduated from high school very early – the first week of his junior year – so that he could move to California and write music.  His advice now though is “go to college and get your education.”  It didn’t happen for Bryant that way.  He just wanted to write music.  “I write all of my songs on paper.  I have tons of notebooks on my bedside tables.”

At just 22 years old, Chase Bryant has the chops, and the musical legacy, to take him straight to the top.  His grandfather was Roy Orbison band member, Jimmy Bryant.

For now, we will settle for happy memories of Chase at Seacrest Studios, and we’ll be following the Tim McGraw tour, and Chase Bryant!  Happy Trails, Chase!

Ryan Lochte Visits Seacrest Studios In Charlotte!

Ryan Lochte, the gold medal swimmer, discovered a HUGE fan base at Levine Children’s Hospital when he recently visited Seacrest Studios between his Saturday swim races.

With so many aquatic records and awards under his belt, the 11-time Olympic medalist is one to watch as swimmers from around the world ready themselves for the XXXI Olympics.

During his visit to Seacrest Studios, Ryan displayed three of his Olympic medals for patients to see.  What a treat to touch a gold, silver, and bronze medal! They were quite heavy and impressive!  Lochte explained that, to win an Olympic medal, you have to work hard.  He has a grueling training schedule that includes swimming 30-35 hours a week, and eating about 8,000-10,000 calories a day!  Patients marveled at what one has to do to prepare, far in advance, for the Olympics!

Ryan delighted everyone with his wonderful sense of humor, and his suggestion that patients could start to train their minds to be Olympic swimmers by watching video clips of important races, and then visualizing themselves swimming those same races.  Lochte still does that to this day, and so can patients who are in the hospital!

While in Seacrest Studios, Ryan talked about everything from his favorite song to swimming with dolphins – he has done that 3 times!

Before signing autographs and posing for pictures with patients, Ryan played a quick game of Sink or Swim that totally entertained everyone.  He admitted he has observed the 5-second rule, and he has cut his own hair before!

Ryan Lochte is an Olympic hero, and friend to Seacrest Studios.  He made a BIG splash with patients in Charlotte, and we will be cheering him on in Rio!  Good luck, Ryan!