The Collective

Col•lec•tive (n) \kə-ˈlék-tiv (n.): “Parts assembled into or viewed as a whole”

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

BBSC Horn Section at WCL

Dave Shepard (left) trombone; Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin - Stu Berger MD (right) trumpet.

Horns--first time together, 2 days before our show at WCL. It was amazing to watch these gifted musicians get it together in less than 48 hours. Powerful sound!
From left to right: Dr. Dick Donner, Dr. Joe Dearani, Dr. Mark Fogel, Dr. Tom Karl, Adam Kleiner, Dave Shepard

Monday, May 16, 2011

The BIG sound: Jeff Lites singing "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know"
To share the stage with CHD survivors, CHD surgeons and other practitioners, was a unique and inspiring event!

Look for our Videos and Pics from The Concert to Benefit Congenital Heart Disease

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A wonderful night at World Cafe Live

On May 9th, Baby Blue Sound Collective Played to a packed house at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. For the first time, survivors with congenital heart disease (CHD) joined the BBSC, including

Mr. Jake Chatzky - assistant MC

Ms. Marla DeFusco, RN - vocalist

Mr. Seth Barmash - guitar.

AND much to our surprise, the audio engineer at World Cafe Live - Mr. Patrick Richardson, was a CHD survivor as well!

The audience was comprised of patients (some of the younger ones danced, and even appeared on stage), parents, friends, family, lots of staff from the Cardiac Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, AND (since the American Association of Thoracic Surgery Meeting was in Philly) over 25 congenital heart surgeons from throughout the world.

The mix of people, all for a common goal, was awesome; the buzz was palpable!

BBSC is indebted to Hal Real and the staff at World Cafe Live for making this night possible, Mariano Mattei and Rich King of Philly Sound Studios for rehearsal space, Steve Fischer from Baby Blues BarBQ for his unbelievable support, and Mona Barmash from The Congenital Heart Information Network (; without whom NONE of this would be possible!

A number of copies of our CD "Songs for Spencer" were sold at the venue, and can still be ordered on line at

We also would like to thank Osler Circle (Philadelphia) and Woosah (St. Petersburg FL) for opening up the show, and joining us all on stage at the end!

We raised over $3000 dollars which will be divided between the 6 worthy charities below; please feel free to look at their websites, learn more and donate more!!!!!

Gil Wernovsky, MD for the BBSC.

Spencer's Fund, a financial assistance program that helps families with expenses incurred during extended or far from home clinic appointments and hospital stays, including groceries, meals, travel subsidies, lodging assistance, and utility payments to families in need. Our first CD: "Songs for Spencer" will be on sale at World Cafe Live, with additional proceeds contributing to Spencers Fund: Read more here:

Steve Catoe Memorial Fund of the Adult Congenital Heart Association (, supports ACHA’s legislative advocacy efforts and online support services for the growing number of adults with CHD. "Funky Heart Blog" is currently being written by the BBSD in Steve's honor: is well worth the read!!

Sisters by Heart a wonderful grass roots organization helping where help is always needed - providing care packages for new moms

Children's Heart Foundation is the country’s leading organization solely committed to CHD research funding, CHF has funded over $4.1 million of CHD research since its inception, which included approximately $400,000 in 2010.

Heart and Mind Fund: a fund which supports the educational efforts of the NeuroCardiac Care Program at CHOP, including the annual family education day.

The International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF) ( is an international organization who's goal is to bring the skills, technology and knowledge to cure and care for children with congenital heart disease to developing countries. ICHF does this regardless of country of origin, race, religion or gender

A Concert for CHD - A Wonderful Night at World Cafe Live!

Dick Donner, MD Baritone and Tenor Saxophones

At Rehearsal at Philly Sound Studios

Photo courtesy Simon Wernovsky

Friday, May 6, 2011

Meet Gil Wernovsky MD, on piano

Dr. Wernovsky is the Director of Program Development at The Cardiac Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Associate Chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology. He is the former director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and now the Medical Director of the newly-created NeuroCardiac Care Program.

Dr. Wernovsky received his undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Music from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA in 1978. While in college, he was a member of “Live Music Band”, toured throughout New England and was the opening act for George Benson in 1977. He has performed solo piano works live, as well as on NPR in Boston, and has kept performing and composing music as an important part of his life since the age of 7. Along with an international group of now over 50 cardiologists, surgeons, nurses and support staff, he formed the “Baby Blue Sound Collective” in 2007.

He is a passionate advocate for his patients and their families; his research has centered on evaluating and improving the long-term quality of life for children born with complex congenital heart disease. He is on the advisory boards of a number of parent and patient support groups, including The Congenital Heart Information Network, Little Hearts, Inc. and The Children’s Heart Foundation. He has been involved in the training of nearly 100 pediatric cardiologists, and particularly enjoys teaching trainees, nurses and families.

He has been married to his high school sweetheart Lauren since 1982, and has two lovely children - one of whom - Simon, began performing with the BBSC in 2011.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In "Signs" (M. Night Shyamalan), Mel Gibson said "There Are No Coincidences"

Just got back from World Cafe Live to go over the details of the setup, etc. An amazing thing happened. In talking to one of the Production assistants - complete random meeting - I find out that he is 30 years old, and in 1981, had TAPVR repair by Denton Cooley at one month of age!!!

Random, I think not!!!!!

Please join us on 5/9 -

Pictured above is Tom Karl, MD. Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon. Humanitarian. Musician.

Attending American Association of Thoracic Surgery Meeting in Philadelphia

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Check out the Downstairs Venue at World Cafe Live...Come see us on May 9th!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chloé on the Cello

The Baby Blue Sound Collective is proud to have so many talented musicians who dedicate their time, outside of their already dedicated medical careers, to play with us to raise awareness for congenital heart disease.

Meet ChloéChloé works in the Intensive Care Nursery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She has also worked at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Denver Children's and St Christopher's Children's Hospital. 

In addition to playing with the Baby Blue Sound Collective, Chloé has also been doing recordings and gigs with Shutters, a band led by her brother. They grew up playing music together and Shutters is their first official collaboration. You can visit their band page on Facebook at:

During her time as a nurse at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) she also performed at the bereavement ceremonies and holiday concerts with Patrick Lipawen, a Music Therapist at CHOP. Patrick was the one who actually encouraged her to dust off her cello and get playing again. 

Chloé met Patrick through her sister, Kelsey. Kelsey was a patient at CHOP for many years after her diagnosis with cancer in 1998.  Chloé lost Kelsey to cancer in 2005 but fondly shares special memories of their time together. And musical talent clearly runs in the family  - Kelsey was a hugely talented artist and musician herself (jazz piano). In her last days, Kelsey, Chloé and their two other siblings would sit at the piano at the entrance to the oncology unit and sing songs together or jam in the music therapy room. 

In Chloé's own words:
I love having a job that allows me time to play music. It is such a huge and beautiful part of life. Im so glad all of these events have given me an impetus and an opportunity to play, and to raise money for such an excellent cause. Music brings people together in such an amazing way. It is nice to work with all of these fellow practitioners and see their (hidden!) talents. I think it helps us see each other in a new light, not just for who we are at work. 
I love being a nurse. To the kids and also to the families. People often say - "I dont know how you do it - seeing all those sick children". My reply has always been - I love being there, down in the trenches with people who are going through these hard times. I like being able to make each day of their trial just a little easier by sharing my light. I was touched in the same way by the beautiful people who cared for my sister and our family. I vow that if I am ever going to work dreading what I do, than it is time to find a new job or make some change happen. 

Thank you for sharing your music, and your story, with us Chloé.  

Come out to hear her play with the Baby Blue Sound Collective on May 9th at World Cafe Live.  Visit for tickets.

Who We Are

The Baby Blue Sound Collective is an ensemble featuring pediatric cardiologists, surgeons, nurses, therapists and other medical professionals from Children's Hospitals around the world. In their day jobs, most of the group takes care of children with heart disease; but most are also researchers, educators and lecturers. Past and present members hail from Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Great Britain, Japan, South Africa, France and Norway, as well as over 15 different cardiovascular programs in the USA. The members of BBSC have found each other through a mutual interest in providing medical and nursing care for children and their families, as well as a love of music and the performing arts.

The BBSC has performed at many of the pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery medical conferences throughout the USA and Europe. The personnel are different for each and every performance, depending upon the location of the particular meeting and the performers who are on the course faculty or attending the meeting (see history). Performances have contained as few as three and as many as 30 members. The set lists and genres are then chosen based upon the composition of ‘the collective” and are as diverse as the members, including classical, jazz, pop, musical theater, blues and rock.

Music, Health Care and Advocacy for Congenital Heart Disease

Gil Wernovsky MD, Jeffrey Boris MD and Tom Karl MD organize the Collective, and together work with charities and patient groups that benefit children and young adults with heart disease. Congenital Heart Disease affects 1 in 100 children, is the leading cause of death from birth defects in infants, and is more common than juvenile diabetes, cystic fibrosis and all forms of childhood cancer—combined. Over 11,000 children under one year of age require open heart surgery in the US alone, many of whom must stay in a hospital setting for weeks to months.

One of the missions of the BBSC is to support the children and their families in a “holistic” fashion. In addition to performing open heart surgery and other high-tech and intense treatments in our ‘day jobs’; we support grass roots organizations who provide aid and support to families going through the toughest times of their lives. Originally inspired by the efforts of Mona and Seth Barmash from The Congenital Heart Information Network ( and Spencer’s Fund (, proceeds from our recorded music and performances will directly benefit important efforts not traditionally covered by medical bills: social services, care packages, child life, financial assistance for families far from home, and important therapies for hospitalized children (including music!).

While great strides have been made in caring for children with heart problems, many of which were fatal just 1-2 generations ago, there remain many questions about longer term outcomes. How will the children fare as they go through school? What are the challenges they will face? What are their strengths, and how may these be improved? The BBSC remains committed to helping to answer these questions: by tirelessly pursuing improved treatments in our ‘day jobs’, and by using our musical resources and international networking to support research aimed at improving quality of life for children and young adults with CHD.