Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Heavenly music elevates us all--Susan Aylworth

This past month I had a rare treat. My husband and I traveled across two states to hear our daughter and grandson sing with the Millennial Choirs and Orchestra (MCO). This concert was in Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, but it served as a dress rehearsal for the same program to be performed next month in Carnegie Hall.

The concert is mostly sacred music, the program titled, "Near, My God, to Thee." Because the performance occurs near the July Fourth holiday, a group of patriotic songs come in the middle. Because they'll be performing in Manhattan, very near Lady Liberty, another song has been added, a musical setting of "The New Colossus," the poem that appears on the statue's base.

Our daughter and her family are all going to Manhattan for the concert and will enjoy the sights there for a week or so, including a ride past the famous Lady who lifts her lamp "beside the golden door." Although our family members will only sing on Saturday evening, the show will be performed over a run of three nights, July 11-14. MCO includes five different groups of musicians in different parts of the country, all converging on Manhattan to blend into three separate casts, one for each performance.

When I heard that the tickets sold out the first day they were available, I felt excited for MCO and its members in our family. Then my daughter pointed out the obvious: When the tickets sell that rapidly, it means they have all gone to family members who are making the trip. She's discouraged they will not be singing to New Yorkers and others who happen to be in Manhattan that week, but excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Her twelve-year-old son, my grandson, doesn't get excited about any old thing, but he's thrilled to be going to Carnegie Hall.

I'm thrilled for them: for their opportunity, for their chance to visit New York, for the rest of the family who are traveling with them. I do wish they were performing their amazing music for a broader spectrum of the population. They wanted to sing an open concert in Central Park, but because of the content of their program--both religious and patriotic music--the directors knew they could not get a permit. MCO will be in the park anyway, trying to get a picture of the three casts and more than 3,500 musicians who are traveling for this concert. (I hope they have a wide, wide lens!)

Maybe, just maybe, someone will start singing? Maybe 3,500 other musicians will chime in? Maybe there will be a flash mob in Central Park, sacred music floating through the air. As I consider that possibility, I have to realize it could possibly include some danger, and I certainly don't want to attract problems for people I love. Maybe the mob can flash wildly, singing only in my imagination.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 18 published novels. Her latest is SUNNY'S SUMMER, a novel set in the Sierra foothills near her northern California home which examines the aftermath of the devastating #CampFire. She lives with her husband of 49 years, Roger, and one old, arthritic cat. She loves to hear from readers. Find her at, @SusanAylworth,, or Also on Pinterest and Instagram.


  1. Susan,
    What a wonderful, memorable event. I am a professional musician, and a concert like the one you described is a dream come true for both the musicians and the audience. Best wishes to your beautiful daughter and adorable grandson.

  2. How exciting for your daughter and grandson! That is a performance of a lifetime.

  3. How exciting for them! We have a musical family too. :)