Proud to Be From Pittsburgh

Proud to be from Pittsburgh: Music Smiles Program

PITTSBURGH — Smiles are being brought to children at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC through a different kind of medicine.

The Sonny Pugar Memorial, founded by Annie Pugar, hires local musicians several times a month to play music at different hospitals around the area.


The memorial is in honor of Pugar’s late husband and drummer, Sonny, who understood the healing power of music.

“Listen, as soon as you hear it, you smile,” said Pugar.

Though some local musicians may be used to more of a club scene, three local musicians say the Children’s Music Smiles Program, founded by Pugar, is their favorite venue to play.

“A lot of times I will hear from the parents, ‘that's the most I've seen my child smile all week’ or however long.  And it's flattering and rewarding to have been a part of that moment,” said musician Ben Tryk.

The Music Smiles Program has also recently added painting to the activities.

“Sometimes, when you think your life is tough, just come and visit the kids her, see how blessed we are,” said musician Jerry Coleman.

Pittsburgh rock legend Joey Granati is also a Pugar Memorial board member.

“Annie Pugar could have got bitter when her husband died, she got better,” said Granati. “She took tragedy and turned it into something beautiful.  She's helping people who are sick like her husband.”

If you would like to know more about the Music Smiles program click here.

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