No Green Bananas + Nashville Music Medics + USC Bionic Ear Lab

Type of post: Chorus news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Sam English
Status: Current
Date Posted: Tue, Sep 12 2023

A Bionic Ear Lab + No Green Bananas + Nashville Music Medics
Put them together and what have you got?

The CI Music Hour featuring No Green Bananas
August 24, 2023


The Senior Quartet “No Green Bananas” was honored to have been invited to appear on the USC Bionic Ear Lab’s weekly CI Music Hour to present some acapella singing for those Cochlear Implant participants Zooming in.  We received this invitation from Chrysa Shasta Kovach, the Co-Facilitator of the CL Music Hour along with Julianne Papadopoulos.  Chrysa is long time friend of our baritone singer, Sam English.  A few years ago Sam had played string bass under Chrysa’s baton while she was with W. O. Smith Community Orchestra in Nashville, TN.    

As we prepared for this visit we learned  that The CI (Cochlear Implant) Music Hour is a music appreciation group for cochlear implant users to practice listening and engage with other cochlear implant users.  Cochlear implants succeed at processing speech into meaningful sound, however, they don't yet process complex ranges of pitch, timbre, or harmonics very well so The CI Music Hour was created to better understand these challenges and study ways to improve the listening experience.  Chrysa and Julianne were USC Graduate School classmates. After graduation  Julianne continued working in the EarLab while Chrysa had discovered her “community mitzvah” and continues to volunteer with the EarLab.




During our visit with the participants we were able to sing a few songs (Duh, of course!) as well as talk about Barbershop Quartet singing and how we got started. After our first song we explained how the four voice parts combine to produce this unique form of close harmony with it’s foundation in seventh chords.

It was interesting  then to hear feedback from the contributors about how they were able to identify the various individual vocal parts or any respective difficulties experienced ... including the strategic placement of a coffee maker and towel in our tabletop video and audio configuration.

All four of us No Green Bananas are also core singers with a therapeutic  vocal music outreach to hospitalized children and residential hospice patients, and their families, in Nashville, TN.  With the passion all of us share we could not pass this opportunity to explain the Mission of Nashville Music Medics.  We shared our experiences with Nashville Music Medics, “Changing the World One Smile at a Time”, as we offered that these poignant visits continue to be the MOST MEANINGFUL to each of us over the many years singing this style of music.   AND WE SANG A FEW MORE SONGS! 

                                   We even sang our “Maggie Song” to Maggie who was in the meeting with everyone!


Please see these links to learn more about Nashville Music Medics as well as “Hearing the Baritone “ and “What Nashville Music Medics Means to Us”.

Hearing the Baritone

What NMM Means to Us

“Thanks” once again to Chrysa , Julianne and the USC Bionic Earlab; and a special thanks to all the CI Music Hour participants who “Zoomed In” to join us while we all made some discoveries together!

                     It’s Great to Be a Nashville Music Medic, Changing the World One Smile at a Time


By Sam English on behalf of No Green Bananas and Nashville Music Medics