One morning in Music City, the a capella wasn't coming from any of the stages within the downtown skyline. It was from a show on tour, traveling room to room at the Children's Hospital at Tristar Centennial. A group of men huddled around each room, singing 'You've Got a Friend in Me' in perfect harmony.
Among the singers in scrubs was an accounting professor, a furniture manufacturer representative and chiropractor. Then there was Wayne Jackson, a Department of Defense retiree.
Jackson does concerts and competitions with the Music City Chorus.
"That buzz you get off of locking those chords is just what makes it fantastic to do," he said. "It'll stand the hair on the back of your neck."
Jackson saw a potential in using the harmonies, the talent that performs in the Chorus, for something great. He heard about the Music Medics, a Barbershop Harmony Society program across the country where barbershoppers visit children's hospitals.
"Y'know, every time I try to eat healthy, a Snickers bar just laughs at me," joked Jackson, leaning into the hospital room of a little boy.
"To see their faces light up, to see their parents' faces light up, we're bringing happiness to these kids,” he continued. "It's just to get some relief. They're grateful for the respite to the possible pain they're going through.”
It's in those personal little shows the Music Medics meet people like mom Tiffany Brown and 14-year-old Zoe.
"Zoe has cerebral palsy and epilepsy," said Brown. "She got very sick last summer. She had pancreatitis. This time she hasn't reacted as much to the staff, to even me. She's not feeling well.”
"Got a special song for ya, Zoe," said Jackson, leaning in her hospital room door. "It's called the Zoe song. Ready?”
The Music Medics launched into a barbershop standard using Zoe's name. Zoe smiled from her hospital bed as they sang.
"That was the first time I've seen her smile, really giggle like that and try to raise her body up since she's been so sick," said Brown. "That was a glimpse of the real Zoe.”
You can't beat that familiar encore song that always gets a smile.
The group again launched into 'You've Got a Friend in Me.'
"Just about every man who's gone out with the Medics feels that sense of pride," said Jackson. "They've told me more times than once, this is the best thing they've ever done in barbershop.”
"Just to see her happy is just, that meant a lot," said Brown. "It was just amazing."