The Collective

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

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

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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.