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Nothin’ Like… Christmas Eve With Ryan Seacrest & Dan + Shay!

It was the morning of Christmas Eve when Ryan Seacrest made a surprise visit to Seacrest Studios at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Greeted with a running hug from patient, Chase, the visit proceeded with live performances from Billboard chart-topping country duo, Dan + Shay.

The Nashville-based band started the visit with their own rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” before jumping into current number-one “Speechless.” They came full-circle and finished with their first ever country hit, “Nothin’ Like You,” from the debut album Where It All Began.  

Between songs patients asked all three special guests pressing questions. Chase naturally stepped in as interviewer wanting to know, “If you were stuck in an elevator and forced to listen to only one song, what would it be?”

Both Dan and Shay had an immediate answer come to mind:

Dan: Happier by Bastille and Marshmello
Shay: I will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

Chase’s answer? “Fireflies” by Owl City.

This prompted a quick follow up question – Have you ever been stuck in an elevator? While patients recounted some laughable elevator moments, Ryan Seacrest took the cake when he told a story from New Year’s Eve three years ago:

“It was a normal day. We were riding up to the ball to practice for New Year’s Rockin’ Eve when our elevator got stuck.”

Ryan Seacrest

Firefighters were called, and everyone involved was relieved the incident did not happen while broadcasting live. 

With the holidays in mind, another patient asked,“If you could be a character in any holiday movie, who would you be?” While the entire studio laughed at Ryan’s quick-witted answer that his height would categorize him as an elf, Shay won the prize for best response.

“I would be the good guy… in every Hallmark movie ever.”

Shay Mooney

After celebrating Christmas Eve, and Ryan’s 44th birthday, the visit concluded with a toy giveaway from JAKKS Pacific and a meet & greet with all three stars.

We are unbelievably grateful for Dan + Shay, Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, and all those who came together to make this Christmas Eve in #SeacrestStudios one patients and families will never forget.

Mason Ramsey Yodeled Into Seacrest Studios!

Mason Ramsey might still be a little guy, but he brought some big vocals to kids and families at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia! Performing both “White Christmas” and his new hit single, “Famous,” with of course, a few dance breaks in between, Mason stunned audiences with his perfect pitch and infectious stylings.

Touching on everything from his whirlwind journey into stardom to picking the best video game characters in Fortnite and NBA2K18, the kid with humble origins yodeling at Walmart turned an otherwise typical afternoon into a festive and light-hearted atmosphere. Thanks again, Mason, and keep up those vocals!

T.I. Brings Christmas Cheer To Children’s Healthcare Of Atlanta!

Atlanta favorite, rapper T.I. and his fleet of elves arrived with car loads of presents for patients in Seacrest Studios at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The generous star first spent time in the studio answering patient questions. In addition to his many titles (rapper, actor, author, entrepreneur), one title he doesn’t have yet but would like is“Director”.

Having already starred in many successful films, T.I. would like to try his hand at calling the shots. He also returned from S. Africa recently where he was filming an upcoming movie. Rarely does he have a day off and even if he does, he doesn’t sit still! T.I. recently released an album and says he will focus on other projects for 2019.

After fun in the studio, he passed out presents to every single patient! Christmas came early at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and we couldn’t be more grateful for the kindness and generosity of T.I. and his team.

Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, Visits Children’s Hospital Colorado

Seacrest Studios at Children’s Hospital Colorado was lucky to get a surprise holiday visit from former first lady, Michelle Obama! She first stopped by the hospital’s studio for an interview with none other than Ryan Seacrest himself. They discussed her new book Becoming, her childhood, meeting Barack Obama, and what it’s like getting used to”regular life” after eight years in the White House.

After her time in the Seacrest Studio, Mrs. Obama teamed up with Santa as they made their way to a packed atrium to read The Night Before Christmas to the patients and families.Kids then got the chance to spend more than 35 minutes asking Mrs. Obama questions, which ranged from “How many push ups can you do?” to”If you had one wish for the world, what would it be?” Throughout the Q&A time, Mrs. Obama emphasized her love for kids all over the world and her answers radiated with wisdom, sincerity, and wit. In responding to the”wish” question, Mrs. Obama stressed the need for empathy:

“If I can try to understand someone, maybe I can help get them to a better place. I think if everyone practiced empathy…not just thinking about how they feel, but how the other person feels…that will help us as a country be nicer to each other.” 

Michelle Obama

The highlight of the Q&A session sprung out of the question “What’s your favorite dance move?” To which Mrs. Obama turned the question around to the patients, leading to an “Orange Justice” dance lesson! We’re grateful we got the very special opportunity spend so much time with the former first lady, Michelle Obama!

We’re Better When… Meghan Trainor Stops By Seacrest Studios!

Our long time friend, Meghan Trainor, stopped by Seacrest Studios at Children’s National and we were feelin’ all the ways! Patients and families greeted her with a warm, D.C. welcome and we were so excited to ask her questions on-air.

Meghan talked about her rise to stardom, hit songs, who inspires her, and what we can expect from her in the future! Patients in the studio and in their rooms were able to talk with Meghan as she made sure that no question was left unanswered.

One patient alluded to her song,“Dance Like Yo Daddy”, and asked Meghan if she was able to touch her toes. Meghan stood up from her chair and showed patients that she can indeed touch her toes and she can even touch the floor. We were one big happy family when Meghan pointed to the front of the studio and introduced us to her mom, her brother, and her fiancé. She said that her family travels everywhere with her and that they are her biggest support system and good luck charm.

Not only did Meghan visit us right before the holidays, but she even celebrated an early birthday with us. Her new friends at Children’s National gave her a special birthday present and sang Happy Birthday on-air. She was touched by the birthday wishes adding “Guys that was so nice. Thank you!” When asked if she would live in a tree house or a castle, Meghan chose tree house saying that she would decorate it really cute too.

Meghan topped off her awesome visit with pictures and autographs; taking the time to talk to everyone who was inside and outside of the studio. These Megatronz can’t wait to see what she does next and hope she can visit Seacrest Studios again soon!

Levine Children’s Fall 2018 Intern Showcase

Katie Simpson
Queens University of Charlotte ’19

Katie Simpson is a communications major and scholarship athlete at Queens University of Charlotte. Katie enjoys working with the patients at Levine Children’s Hospital for Seacrest Studios because she currently manages her own medical condition as a student athlete.She delivers traits she’s learned through athletics like leadership, team work and collaboration with empathy to the patients at Levine. She hopes to work for the Walt Disney World Company in the future in order to keep bringing smiles to children across the world. 

“My favorite memory was delivering a trivia prize to DJ Noah. He constantly watched our shows this semester and was always buzzing the phone down in the studio. As soon as I walked in the room his face lit up. That’s what we are here for, that is our main goal, to make the patients’ stay here at Levine Children’s Hospital just a little bit better.”

Katie Simpson

Alisha Brown
North Carolina A&T State University ’18

Alisha Brown is a graduating senior Journalism and Mass Communications student at North Carolina A&T State University.

“My favorite memory was interviewing Riley Clemmons and doing arts and crafts with the kids”

Alisha Brown

Anna Grace Galloway
The University of South Carolina ’19

Born and raised in Belton, South Carolina, Anna Grace Galloway is a Senior broadcast journalism student at theUniversity of South Carolina. She has a passion for serving others and hopes to one day use that passion as a local television news anchor. While she’s not studying journalism, you can find Anna Grace singing, and that love for music made her time at Seacrest Studios even better. Anna Grace hopes to stay in Columbia, South Carolina after graduation to pursue a career as a multimedia journalist.

“My favorite fall memory is when DJ Ally-Sings came into the studio and immediately said she wanted to sing for us. As someone who already sings most of the time, and whose show is all about music, I was so excited to hear that. She sat down at the mic with headphones on and just sang her heart out. She sang everything from Carrie Underwood to Moana, and she was amazing. I honestly think she has a future in the music business!”

Anna Grace Galloway

Sarah Carlton
Queens University of Charlotte ’19

Sarah Carlton is a senior Communications major at Queens University of Charlotte. Growing up, she found a passion for collaborating with others and working to better the community through volunteering at church. The fellowship and leadership opportunities there lead her to seek internships to not only develop professional skills but to bring joy to those around her. At Seacrest Studios, she has not only had the opportunity to speak with hospital donors, but to also dance, sing and play with kids. She notes, “It’s their smiles and laughter that remind me every day to stay positive and be confident.”

 “My favorite Seacrest Studios memory was meeting DJ Claire Bear. Coming into the studio during my show, she asked if she could sing, talk, and play games with me and the other interns. We spent the whole our hour talking about Disney Channel shows/movies (her explaining all of the Decedents movies to me) and talking about celebrity gossip. She shared her dream of being a star; taking the stage to make people dance and smile and promised us front row seats to her first big show. Her love and ambition were incredibly inspirational, and I loved spending time with her.”

Sarah Carlton

Rodrick Jones
University of South Carolina ’19

Rodrick Jones is a senior Broadcast Journalism major at the University of South Carolina. Alongside Seacrest Studios, Rodrick interned with Sportswire where he covered sports games and hosted a sports podcast named “Beyond the Sport.” He ultimately wants to anchor his own sports debate show. 

“The best moment? Meeting a patient my first day and giving him the Seacrest World Heavyweight Championship Belt.”

Rodrick Jones

Elena Barilla
University of South Carolina ’19

Elena is a broadcast journalism major and political science minor at the University of South Carolina. Growing up outside of New York City, the wide-eyed, young version of herself would dream of becoming a journalist someday. Elena knows journalism can sometimes deliver some sad stories, but her real passion is in positive, human-oriented pieces. There is no better way to help people through broadcast journalism than interning in Seacrest Studios. Here, Elena can help the best people of all – KIDS! 

“One of my favorite memories in Seacrest Studios is the Saltine Cracker Eating Challenge! DJ Ran had Seacrest Studios try to break a new world record each week and the winner would go in the “Seacrest Book of World Records.” This particular week, the studio was filled with families trying to take home the bragging rights! To my surprise, the world record was only 12 saltine crackers eaten in a minute. My record was 2…. it’s harder than it looks!”

Elena Barilla

Randi Moultrie
Winthrop University ’19 

After a great 6 months at Seacrest Studios, Randi os looking forward to venturing into new opportunities and adventures during her last semester of college. Following graduation she plans to move to Houston, TX to work for a local radio station. Her ultimate goal is to return to Seacrest Studios as a program coordinator for one of the many great locations around the country. 

“My favorite memory would be getting the chance to meet and interview Miss America 2018. Her genuine spirit and kind heart made me beyond comfortable to complete my first celebrity interview. I thank her and Meredith for the opportunity to conduct the interview and be involved with such a great visit to the hospital.”

Randi Moultrie

Lyric Galloway
UNC Charlotte ’18

From Asheville, NC, Lyric is a senior Public Relations student at UNCC. She initially became interested in broadcast media to gain new skills in the world of Communications. Seacrest Studios was instantly the perfect fit! Every day varies, and she appreciated the opportunity to impact so many lives in such a small way. Lyric notes, “Working in Seacrest Studios changed me, and I am grateful.”

“My favorite summer memories were the cooking show and Seacrest Idol!”

Lyric Galloway

Jordin Donahue
Christ the King High School

Jordin Donahue is a Senior at Christ the King High School. Jordin is from Cornelius, NC home of Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte. After volunteering her time to answer phones with a localCharlotte Radio Station who was raising money for the Levine Children’sHospital in the Seacrest Studios, Jordin found a renewed interest in broadcasting and reached out to Meredith Dean to inquire about an internship. Jordin submitted her application and resume’ and was offered an internship and is currently finishing up her second internship at the Seacrest Studios. Her passion for kids came from teaching dance, Jordin introduced, started and teaches an adaptive dance class at her family dance studio.“Working at the Seacrest Studios, being inside the Levine Children’s Hospital has intensified my aspirations to have a career in the medical field.” When Jordin found a place where she is able to put a smile on young kids faces just by telling them the weekly pop culture news she knew there was no place better to be. 

“My favorite memory was bringing Jeff Gordon into the Seacrest Studios as my guest to do my first celebrity interview. Not only has my experience with Seacrest Studios and the Levine Children’s Hospital been an opportunity of a lifetime, but it has changed my life forever, I will treasure my time with every child I have met always.”

Jordin Donahue

Chyna Blackmon
Queens University of Charlotte ’18

Chyna is a journalism and digital media major at Queens University of Charlotte. As a previous intern at SpectrumNews, Motivation Marketing Firm, CharlotteFive, Queens Sports Network and now a returning intern at Seacrest Studios, Chyna hopes to graduate and pursue a career in broadcast news or digital print.

“My favorite memories always come from times when previous patients drop in just to visit Seacrest Studios. For example, when Allie came back to the studio to interview us about our experience at Seacrest Studios for her vlog. This is one of my favorite memories because it was so heartwarming to hear how much Seacrest Studios has meant to her…so much so that she will be a future intern too.”

Chyna Blackmon

Arlette Hawkins
North Carolina A&T State University ’19

Arlette Hawkins is a senior, Journalism & Mass Communication student at North Carolina A&T State University with a concentration in Multimedia Journalism and minor in Spanish. Last semester Arlette studied abroad in Seville, Spain studying Journalism while taking her courses in Spanish. While overseas Arlette hosted a Youtube series called “Arlette Abroad” where she documented each week during her semester overseas. Arlette used her experience and love for learning about others to fuel her Seacrest Studios show, “What in the World?!” Each week, viewers are taken to a new country to learn about their customs, music, food, and more. The goal of this show was to make every patient, regardless of origin, feel welcomed to the hospital; and to expose patients to their (potentially) first “overseas”experience. After graduating in May, Arlette hopes to receive the Fulbright Grant to study media in the United Kingdom or to start working for a media company. 

“My favorite memory was delivering Bingo sheets and seeing that they encouraged patients to come downstairs. A special moment in Seacrest Studios occurred when I realized the importance of my show – Inclusivity and International Adventures.”

Arlette Hawkins

Morgan Lowers
Winthrop University ’19

Anticipating graduation on May 4th, 2019 Morgan is a senior Mass Communications major with a minor in Spanish at Winthrop University. She plays softball for the university and loves how it pushes her to be the best she can be. She wanted to be a news producer after she graduates in May, but Seacrest Studios changed her mind. Morgan’s dream job is to be a program coordinator at a Seacrest Studios location. She loves kids, dancing, singing, Disney and putting smiles on other faces.

“My favorite memory from the semester was when DJ Yuridawg came down to the studio and did my show with me! We were talking about Scooby-Doo and she stole the show once she talked in the mic. Seeing how happy she was made me incredibly happy. I will never forget the impact DJ Yuridawg left on my heart.”

Morgan Lowers

Matt Bumbaca 
University of South Carolina ’19

“I had the most incredible time coming to Seacrest Studios this fall. The best part about this internship for me is that you know you have the ability to make someone’s day. All I ever set out to do was have a good time and impact people in a positive way. This internship has easily been the best experience of my life and I will never forget the memories I’ve made here at Seacrest Studios.”

Matt Bumbaca

Tyler Wise
Queens University of Charlotte ’21

Tyler Wise is a Multimedia Storytelling and Political Science double-major at Queens University of Charlotte. She has a passion for telling stories and hopes to become the next Oprah Winfrey. She has worked with children through summer camps, volunteer opportunities, and from her big family. When she heard about Seacrest Studios, she was amazed that such an opportunity existed. Tyler enjoys interacting with new people and learning their stories. 

“My favorite experience was painting a storage container with DJ M. The very first time I met her we were making pizzas in the studio. She did not understand why anyone would want to place zucchini on their pizza, and it was a shock when a security guard talked her into trying it. While painting the storage bin she began to tell me different stories about her journey. She trusted me and has become a close friend. She, along with many other patients, have left a lasting impact on my life.”

Tyler Wise

Destiny Gettis
University of South Carolina ’19

Destiny is from Hilton Head Island, SC. She found her love for Broadcast when she created her own segment at church called “A Youthful Prospective” at the age of 14. Destiny went to a church where many of the children lived in poverty and through her show she would speak about events in the community, accomplishments of the youth in church, etc. Through her Sunday newscast she was able to uplift children and learned of her passion to share stories and make a difference.

“My favorite memory at Seacrest Studios was when Maryssa came into the studio for about an hour and gave such uplifting life lessons on staying positive (she had me in tears the entire time). She was such an inspiring person and always made me feel that the small challenges I face in life there are always others with bigger problems and I can overcome anything. She taught me about new foods that I’ve never heard of.”

Destiny Gettis

Why Don’t We Brings All The Feels To Seacrest Studios, Nashville

Written Recap by Program Manager, Mamie Shepherd
Photo Credit: Anne Rayner, Vanderbilt University

Why Don’t We was “in the limelight” at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt when the popular band made a holiday stop at Seacrest Studios! The 5-member group, originating out of Los Angeles, brought so much fun to the crowd gathered in the studio that everyone there quickly joined the band’s fan group, “Limelights!”  

Daniel Seavey, Jack Avery, Corbyn Besson, Zach Herron, and Jonah Marais talked about their success, their legion of fans, and the fact that they still aren’t used to girls crying when they meet the Fab Five. 

WDW, as they are often called, talked about life on the road – everything from “the junk bunk” to getting along with each other.  We couldn’t let the title of their hit song, 8 Letters, go by without some explanation!  All five said that the title is up for interpretation.  Some think the 8 letters could mean “I Love You.” Others suggested the eight letters could stand for…SEACREST! 

To wrap up a great visit in the studio, the boys competed against each other in a race to take all of the tissues out of a box – one by one – with only one hand!  This was just a nod to all the tears that have been shed when fans see them in person, or listen to their music.  It gives us all the feels! Thanks to Why Don’t We for continuing to be a source of encouragement at Seacrest Studios!  We look forward to having you back soon and we’ll be watching you on your 8 Letters Tour starting in 2019!

Patients In Seacrest Studios Quiz The Chainsmokers!

The Chainsmokers did not let us down as they made a special stop to Seacrest Studios in Washington D.C. Patients and families packed the studio and were so excited to hang out with the dynamic duo on-air!

We learned that Drew loves Quizno’s chicken carbonara sandwiches and knows a lot about Pokemon while Alex loves Golden Retrievers, prefers turkey and cheese sandwiches with no toppings, and is a Yankees fan.

When asked who they hope to collaborate with in the future, Alex told us that he slid into Shawn Mendes’ DM’s and hopes to work with him in the future.

A patient wanted to know what their favorite city to visit and Drew responded “Tokyo is very cool. It feels like the future when you’re there. Everything is very efficient, clean, and the food is amazing. Those are the three things that we like, efficiency, cleanliness, and good food”.

The guys shared that they have been working together for a little more than six years. We decided to challenge them to a little game of“How Well Do You Know Each other”. We asked them a series of questions and asked them to answer for the other person. When asked their favorite emoji to use when texting, both guys started to draw the emoji’s for patients in the studio. Drew prefers the nail polish emoji while Alex says that the hang ten emoji is his go-to.

The band was so excited to meet their fans inside the studio and sent well wishes to patients who were up in their rooms. Thank you, Alex and Drew, for spreading laughter and joy to everyone at Children’s National and we hope to see you soon!

AJ Mitchell Talks Inspiration at CHOP!

Blog Recap by Seacrest Studios Intern, Sumayyah Carter

          Presenting at this year’s Q102 Jingle Ball, and also gearing up for his performance in Philly, AJ Mitchell decided to stop by Seacrest Studios located inside of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. AJ delighted fans and hospital guests with his incredible vocals and his smooth, cheerful personality. Performing his latest hits “Hopeful” and “Girls” from his EP Hopeful took a fan’s breath away, nearly making her speechless. 

Diving more into his EP, AJ shared that as he gets older his taste and musical style are maturing as he does. Some of AJ’s biggest inspirations include Michael Jackson, ColdPlay and Shawn Mendes. As he delves into the songwriting process he notes, “What stands out for me in any song is the emotion in the music and how it makes me feel.” 

            With Christmas right around the corner, AJ reminisced about his favorite holiday traditions, gifting giving, and the movies that put him in the holiday spirit. Home Alone for many is one of the ultimate holiday movies, and AJ agreed citing it as one of his personal favorites. Hanging lights and spending quality time with his family was just one of the traditions AJ shared with us. He also mentioned his method of gift giving: observing a person’s needs instead of asking them what they want. But the biggest gift he gave today was his time, and coming to Seacrest Studios to visit all his fans and their families was truly incredible, and for that we couldn’t be more grateful. We hope you visit again in the new year!

Darci Lynne Farmer Brings Petunia & Oscar to CHOC Children’s!

Darci Lynne Farmer, the 14 year old winner of season 12 of America’s Got Talent was welcomed to Seacrest Studios at Children’s Hospital of Orange County by some very excited patients to watch and listen to her sing and perform with her two beloved cast members, Petunia and Oscar!

While in studio, Darci answered children’s questions about how she got started as a ventriloquist, as well as her favorite friend that she performs with during her shows. She shared that ever since she was eight she wanted a puppet and began teaching herself by watching videos of one of her idols and mentor, Terry Fator. Darci also gave patients a very special medley of a few holiday favorites in anticipation for her upcoming holiday tour. Many thanks to Darci, her mom Misty, and Petunia and Oscar for making such a special visit in Orange County!