Seacrest Studios at Levine Children’s Hospital Turns FIVE!

Blog Post by Seacrest Studios Intern, Jordan West
Video Recap by Seacrest Studios Intern, Carly Thomas

Levine Children’s Hospital knows how to party! Although the studio’s official birthday is July 29th, we celebrated its 5th birthday with patients, staff, volunteers and special performers on Tuesday, July 31st, 2018.

The birthday celebration kicked off with special performer, Ellie Morgan, from Charlotte, NC. Ellie is a singer/songwriter and former Seacrest Studios intern at Levine Children’s Hospital.

Aveanna Healthcare drew the crowd in with corn-hole, games and fantastic goodies, bringing patients into the LCH lobby and Seacrest Studios. Aveanna even brought a special guest, surprising patients with Black Panther to help out with games, prizes and photo-ops.

Walt Disney says, “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” Disney is a crucial part of any celebration, bringing out imagination, timeless memories and immediate recognition. Thank you to all of our Disney characters who showed up and made this birthday celebration the best yet! Special shout out to Rachel Freeman, who designed and custom-made the following costumes: Belle, Ariel, Maleficent, Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Tinker Bell, Ursula, Jasmine, and many more.

The party only continued when Sir Purr, the official mascot of the Carolina Panthers, entered the building. He instantly made it the most PAWsome and PURRtastic event ever – bringing laughter and joy into the day! Homer, the official mascot for the Charlotte Knights, greeted everybody with his dragon fire breath making the day a homerun.

But wait! There’s more!

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! The Ghostbusters, LCH and Seacrest Studios regulars, stopped in and caught all the ghosts trying to crash the party. Seacrest Studios sends a huge thank you for making our party come to life!

Everybody needs a little magic in their life! Haydini performed an amazing magic show leaving everybody in shock! Balloons, patient caricatures and the red-carpet photo booth were a few more activities apart of the parade of fun that helped make the fifth birthday at Seacrest Studios one we will never forget! Our fun-fulfilled day with lots of celebration ended with an incredible Pet Therapy dog show, showcasing over five dogs performing tricks, jumps and cuddling with our patients.

Seacrest Studios could not run without the fabulous and incredible production interns, hospital volunteers and staff, and our Program Coordinator, Meredith Dean, who made this whole day possible! Dressing up as Disney princesses, hosting game stations, and passing out popcorn & cake… this party was a HIT!


Can Shazam Beat Carly Pearce in Music Knowledge?

Written blog by Seacrest Studios intern Hannah Slater
Video by Seacrest Studios interns Scotty Gavlin and Carly Thomas

Country music singer Carly Pearce, who recently won a CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year, stopped by Seacrest Studios in Charlotte on Friday, June 15! We wanted the patients to get to know Carly a little better, so we started her visit off with some questions to try and learn some fun facts about her. We learned a lot, including the fact that Carly LOVES sweet mint gum, kale, and brussel sprouts!

Next we let Carly answer some questions asked by patients in the hospital. We found out that her favorite Disney character is Belle from Beauty and the Beast (she dressed up as Belle 5 years in a row for Halloween!), and Carly even got up to dance when asked what her favorite dance move was. Those dance moves were impressive!

After playing a game where Carly had to try and guess country songs before Shazam could, we quickly discovered that not even an app could guess country songs before her. She can, however, be stumped by Disney silhouettes when playing, “Guess that Disney Character!”

Carly finished her visit by giving a patient that was discharging a special send-off that ended in a big hug. She’s currently touring with Rascal Flatts and Dan + Shay, but we can’t wait to have Carly back in the studio for more games and trivia!


Seacrest Studios in Charlotte Celebrates Its First Birthday!

Patients, staff and special guests gathered to celebrate the first birthday of Seacrest Studios at Levine Children’s Hospital (LCH) in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The day was filled with fun activities, special appearances, and music, music, music!  LCH patients, and their families, knew something special was happening when they pulled up to the hospital to find big inflatable blowups on the front lawn!

Our birthday celebration kicked off with Charlotte radio hosts, Woody and Wilcox, from 106.5 The End.  The guys played a game of “Quick Draw” with patients in the studio, and even helped with a birthday Mad Lib!

“Dakota the Dinosaur” drew gasps from the crowd as he, and his friends, came roaming into the LCH lobby and Seacrest Studios! Dakota was so large, he almost didn’t fit! It was a prehistoric birthday bash for sure!

Former patient, Carmen Diaz, who helped us open Seacrest Studios, returned one year later healthy, strong, and cancer-free!  She talked about opening day a year ago and how excited she was to meet Austin Mahone! Carmen performed some of her favorite songs for us, including “Brave” by Sara Bareilles.

Much to the surprise of Carmen, and the rest of the patients at LCH, Sara Bareilles actually appeared at Seacrest Studios to make our birthday party even more special.  In town on her “Little Black Dress” tour, Sara was able to break away from rehearsal long enough to say hello to all of the patients and their families. She told patients about her favorite birthday party ever, which included a bouncy castle with her friends in an L.A. Park.  Patients got to ask Sara questions and get her autograph!

Of course, a celebration at Seacrest Studios would not be complete without the most loveable cat in Carolina!  Carolina Panthers’ mascot, and frequent visitor to Levine Children’s Hospital, Sir Purr, brought his energetic personality, and magic, to our birthday party! The most recognized cat in Charlotte took pictures with patients, and even helped hand out cupcakes.  Sir Purr joined in “Birthday Bingo” with Charlotte radio hosts, Drex and Cassiday, from Kiss 95.1.  He gave a squeak of his paw and a little dance when “BINGO” was called!

To finish off our amazing celebration, Seacrest Studios welcomed back triplet sisters, The TBA Girls, for a performance.  The TBA Girls serenaded our patients and families with songs like “Let It Go,” “Happy,” and “Story of My Life.” Their beautiful voices stopped everyone in their tracks!

Cupcakes, candy, Ryan Seacrest coloring book pages, dinosaurs, Sara Bareilles, radio hosts, Sir Purr, Bingo, patient performances, balloons, and The TBA Girls were just part of the parade of fun that helped make the first birthday at Seacrest Studios one that we will never forget!


Sheryl Crow Sings Three Of Her Hit Songs In Seacrest Studios

Nine-time Grammy Award winner, Sheryl Crow, made a special trip to Seacrest Studios in Charlotte, NC, on a tour stop with Rascal Flatts.

There were gasps of excitement when Sheryl walked into Levine Children’s Hospital and met with patients and their families.  She put on a front row, mini-concert for the crowd that had gathered to see her! What a treat it was to hear some of Sheryl’s famous hits, “Soak Up The Sun,” “Shotgun,” and “Everyday Is a Winding Road.”

Patients thought it was especially exciting to hear about Sheryl’s impressive career – and how much she loved working with Michael Jackson! In a very poignant moment, Sheryl spoke to our patients very candidly about her own battle with cancer.  She told patients to keep looking forward, even on the bad days. It inspired everyone who was there to see her.

The “First Cut Is the Deepest” singer took a lot of time getting to know patients, and what they were going through.  She even stopped with each parent and shared an encouraging word with them.  One of the sweetest parts of Sheryl’s visit was the recording of short videos for patients who were not able to leave their rooms!  Each message was personalized to the patient Sheryl was talking to!

We all soaked up the sun with this talented singer.  Patients are going to follow her advice and keep looking forward. Thanks, Sheryl!

Katy Tiz Sings ‘The Big Bang’ In Seacrest Studios

Katy Tiz brought energy and happiness to Seacrest Studios in Levine Children’s Hospital,  and the patients were thrilled to meet the her!

“I like to have fun every day,” and fun is exactly what everyone experienced when Katy stepped to the microphone at the studio in Levine Children’s Hospital.  Katy told patients about being delayed at the airport and how she carries a tennis ball with her at all times so, when there is a moment of downtime, she can play catch with her guitar player.

Katy answered many patient questions and even talked hairstyles, how she does not wear matching earrings ever, and about her cat, “Schmitten the Kitten.”

When Katy walked through the doors of the hospital, and heard her song, “The Big Bang,” playing at Seacrest Studios, she jumped up and down with delight! “I’m a normal girl with a big dream, and I’m lucky enough to live that dream at the moment and it’s incredible.  I do get overexcited and I am a geek, and I am a bit goofy, and I’m really proud of it,” she said.

Katy even took time during her visit to go to the rooms of a few special fans who could not make it down to the studio.  Patients are still talking about how much they love Katy Tiz!

Belk Bowl Teams Score a Touchdown at Seacrest Studios

The patients at Levine Children’s Hospital (LCH) had a lot to cheer about when the Cincinnati Bearcats and the North Carolina Tar Heels went head-to-head in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, NC.  Football players from both teams made an appearance at Seacrest Studios before their face off on the gridiron.  You would not have guessed any rivalry though from these bigger-than-life teams when they focused on patients.  Their goal was to bring joy to the children who could not be home for the holidays and they clearly scored in that endeavor.

The Tar Heels (Atlantic Coast Conference), led by their coach, Larry Fedora, and the Bearcats (American Athletic Conference), led by their coach, Tommy Tuberville, brought music, laughter, and stories to Seacrest Studios. Both teams SANG and shared New Year’s resolutions with patients at LCH.  Players also talked about their own injuries and how they work to overcome them and get back in the game.

The studio erupted in laughter as these star athletes, and their coaches, talked about everything from free time to chocolate milk!  Their competitiveness isn’t just confined to a football field either!  We saw some pretty fierce competition when the players faced off with their own team members for a game of Guess What!

Seacrest Studios was an exciting place to be right after the holidays and we thank the Belk Bowl teams for taking time away from practice to show us what true sportsmanship is like.  Their goal was to spread holiday cheer and they scored big points with their fans at Seacrest Studios and Levine Children’s Hospital.

Alberto Del Rio Visits Seacrest Studios On His Way to SmackDown!

As we near the end of the year, Seacrest Studios Charlotte looks back at some of the big moments for patients at Levine Children’s Hospital.  When WWE two-time World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio, stopped by on his way to SmackDown, patients were in awe!  The 239 pound, 6’5″ professional wrestler proved his big heart is as award-winning as his championship bouts in the ring.

Assuring patients that their real opponent in life does not appear in a wrestling ring, but in everyday struggles they may face, Del Rio said not to surrender to those struggles, that strength comes from meeting your struggles head-on. Speaking in both Spanish and English, this larger-than-life wrestler lingered to take pictures and sign autographs before facing his next championship battle in Charlotte.

Our thanks to Alberto Del Rio for helping us with the tools we need to help fight our struggles and win hard battles.

Dustin Lynch Makes A Special Visit To Seacrest Studios!

Country singer, Dustin Lynch, made a special post-Thanksgiving stop at Seacrest Studios in Charlotte during a concert tour break in the Queen City. Dustin spent time with patients at Levine Children’s Hospital (LCH) during the day before he stepped onstage for a late-night performance.

LCH patients were thrilled to get to meet the “Cowboys and Angels” singer who looked every bit the part of a country star – hat, boots, and smile!

Dustin answered questions from patients – why he likes country music and if he ever takes his hat off (he does – it’s too big on the bus).   He told the crowd at Seacrest Studios that he did not cook anything for Thanksgiving because his job was . . . to taste everything!

Dustin’s Charlotte stop was actually a break from his current tour with Keith Urban and Little Big Town. Lynch told LCH fans that he and his group are having “the time of our lives” on the Light The Fuse Tour.

Interestingly, Dustin pipes the tunes of country-music-lover, Justin Timberlake, through his headphones before a big performance to help get pumped up and says, “Shows are like ballgames.”

LCH enjoyed some funny moments when Dustin’s knowledge of holiday songs was put to the test at the microphone.  Then, to everyone’s delight, Lynch picked up his guitar and entertained patients by singing and playing songs that keep running through our heads.

Fans will be happy to know that Dustin started recording his second album on December 2nd! We look forward to hearing more from this artist, and we wait for his return to Seacrest Studios in Charlotte. Thanks, Dustin!

Capital Cities Makes a Stop at Seacrest Studios!

Patients at Levine Children’s Hospital (LCH) in Charlotte, NC were excited when the group, Capital Cities, who sing the chart-topping hit, “Safe And Sound” stopped by Seacrest Studios! The singers, Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian, charmed their way into the hearts of patients who were unable to leave the hospital for the group’s concert stop with Fitz & The Tantrums.  They told patients the remarkable story of how they met – believe it or not – on Craigslist!

Patients were entertained by the duo talking about wanting to start a Sky Mall blog and that “Unchained Melody” is their go-to karaoke song. 

They told the crowd in Seacrest Studios that the name “Capital Cities” came about in a random brainstorming session between the two.  They also told LCH patients that “Safe And Sound” was a song that had been in the works for a long time.  “The song that you may have heard – ‘Safe And Sound’ – that particular song actually took a long time for us to get right.  We wrote it very quickly, and we wrote it probably, I guess it was 2010, but then it took us, we literally reproduced the song probably 8 or 9 times before we stumbled upon what you now hear on the radio with the synthesizers and the trumpets, so, it can take a while to really hone in your sound.” 

We loved having Ryan and Sebu in Charlotte and we look forward to their next visit to Seacrest Studios!

Zendaya Shakes Things Up at Seacrest Studios

Zendaya, a Disney Channel and Dancing with the Stars favorite, recently stopped by Seacrest Studios to visit with patients at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte! In town to sing the National Anthem at a Carolina Panthers football game, Zendaya told a crowded studio that she was not nervous that she might forget the words to the National Anthem. She also told patients she got to hang out with Panthers’ quarterback, Cam Newton (who has visited Seacrest Studios too!)

After playing a round of Shake It Up trivia, patients were thrilled to talk to, and sit next to, the star of the hit Disney show!   Zendaya told fans that the end of Shake It Up was bittersweet.  “Everyone in the cast – I consider them like family.  We’re all really close and being on Shake It Up is kind of like school a little bit.  We go to school, we have our routine, we see the same people every day, and now I guess you could say I’m like the senior who graduated and now am moving on.  It’s bittersweet.”

“Zswaggers” were interested to hear about Zendaya’s stint on Dancing with the Stars (DWTS)! She told patients that the costumes on DWTS were custom made for every single performance.

Another interesting fact Zendaya shared with us is that it drives her, and her “Zswaggers,” “crazy” when people mispronounce her name (which apparently happens quite a bit!)  

One thing is for sure, we will “Replay” Zendaya’s visit over and over until she visits Seacrest Studios again!