On Monday at 11am a Celebration was held at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital on Broadway and 165th St.
Serving that facility for 25 years, The Big Apple Circus Clown Care staff sang, blew bubbles, played music and entertained the children and adults.
In 1986, Big Apple Circus co-founder and Creative Director Michael Christensen founded this professional hospital clowning program.
In the beginning it was only three clowns. Michael Christensen (Mr. Stubbs), Barry Lubin (Grandma) and Jeff Gordon (Gordoon)
Today the Big Apple Circus’s Clown Care is at 18 leading pediatric hospitals nationwide with over 80 talented professional clowns.
It also has inspired many other groups world-wide to develop in Germany, France, Mexico etc.
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The ceremony began with remarks by Big Apple Circus Chairman Chris Wearing.
Dr. Robert Seigle, pediatric nephrologist spoke about his relationship with the Clown Care group from the beginning.
The other speaker was nine time Emmy award winning broadcast journalist Jane Hanson, host of NBC’s LX NEW YORK.
They had celebratory cup cakes donated by Magnolia Bakery.
Philip Thurston, Press Contact for the Big Apple Circus organized this delightfully heartfelt event.
Philip Thurston and Clown Dikki Ellis.
The event was very emotional. Michael spoke about the role of the clown in the hospital environment. The Big Apple Circus Clown Care has been working in hospitals for 25 years and has brought joy and laughter to many children.
Directing part of his talk to the clown members of the audience he spoke of the importance of their work.
The Clowns gathered together at the end of the celebration and collectively chanted;
“See you down the road”
The tuba and banjos began playing as they marched out of the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and into the street.
They gathered their belongings, suitcases and instruments and paraded out the front door and took the subway to another hospital in Harlem.
Here are some photographs from the day.
(Not listed in order)
(Michael Christensen, John Grimaldi, Erin Schmahl, Karen McCarty, Josh Matthews, Julie Pasqual, Will Shaw, Audrey Crabtree, Watson Kawecki, Laine Barton, Leo Dessilets, Phyllis Capello, Ron Hoffman, Deborah Kaufman, Sarah Petersiel, David Engel, Lauren Sharpe, John Leo, Dikki Ellis, Hilary Chaplain, Maria Para.)
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Help the New York Big Apple Circus Clown Care community outreach program continue by donating here!