Bobby’s Outpost Music Program — “BOMP!”

Barbara “Bobby” Kovner loved music. From childhood on, she studied piano and became a concert pianist at Hamilton High School – performing and winning competitions city-wide in the 1930’s. As a young mother, she made sure her kids were not only exposed to classical composers, jazz and folk music, but also that they had an opportunity to learn to play music as well. Her daughter Melinda (known at Camp as “Moose”) had lessons in both piano and guitar from an early age.

In the 1960’s, Barbara and Melinda played together for various venues benefiting children – from hospitals to holiday parties for the Asthma Foundation and The Lung Association, while our very own Painted Turtle volunteer Pun (also known then as “Marko the Magician”) put on magic shows.

After a debilitating stroke in 2003, Barbara kept singing even though she had lost the ability to speak. She could still sing all the harmonies, melodies and in many languages- just as she’d done all her life. Pun and Moose taught her camp songs which she’d never heard previously – proving the elasticity of the human brain is impressive, and that rhythm and melody get in to our psyches in profound ways we may never understand completely! Her family sang to her while she was leaving life early in the morning of February 1, 2012. Barbara was 92 and she passed away listening to her favorite song.

To celebrate Barbara’s memory, Moose and Pun have decided to fund a musical extension of The Painted Turtle Hospital Outreach Program (“Outpost”), which will provide interactive and engaging musical experiences for children for years to come. Barbara (“Bobby”) would be so happy to know that part of her musical legacy is being handed on through the Outpost. Music has a way of unifying us in body, mind, and spirit and of unifying people of disparate backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. Through the beat of a drum, shake of a maraca, and sweet melody of a xylophone, Barbara’s memory will be celebrated through music at children’s hospitals throughout California.