All Ages, All Faiths, One Voice: Local Choir Participants Go The Distance For The Love of Music and Their Fellow Men.

Her sister, Emily, mentioned she was going to audition for a choir. Christi Alder (Aspen Ward, White Mountain Stake) thought it sounded like fun and decided she would too. Nine years later, Christi, her sister, and 23 immediate members of the Wilcken family of Mesa continue to sing with the 4,000 choral participants and 500 orchestra participants of the Millennial Choirs and Orchestra (MCO). Other friends and family also participate at the other four MCO locales in California, Idaho, Texas and Utah.

This July, MCO travels to New York to perform in the world-renowned Carnegie Hall. This will be the organization’s fifth tour.

Considering the years they have participated, Christi’s father, John C. Wilcken (Mesa 46th Ward, Mesa East Stake), says, “We have been able to watch the organization grow.” Looking back, John confides, “I feel blessed to participate with many of my children and grandchildren, by far the greatest and most challenging choral experience of my life.”

According to John, the professors and directors of the organization are “some of the finest and most creative in our world today.” He feels indebted to fellow participants, dedicated directors, and uncalculated volunteer hours.

Each Christmas and Easter season, MCO’s concerts offer audiences a spectacular feast of rich, dynamic sound and story. It is not unusual for multiple pieces in a concert to end with a standing ovation.

Youth in the choir feel they belong to something unique and incredible. Susanna Boyle (Valley View, Citrus Heights Stake) says, “There’s an indescribable feeling when the youth first come out onto the balconies during a song. It’s not a boastful feeling. It’s a sense of celestial power and God’s divine love.” Her sister Lucile describes MCO as life-changing.

When Christi and her husband, Ryan, moved their family to the White Mountains seven years ago for work, their family was determined to support Christi’s desire to continue singing with the choir. She still makes the six-hour round trip drive to the Valley each week to participate.

Why does she travel so far to sing?

She describes a moment in their recent concert where she watched a woman on the front row in the audience weep, shoulders shaking with sobs as they sang “I Stand All Amazed.”

Why does she do it?

Bono once said, “Music can change the world because it can change people.”

Singing in MCO, Christi joins her voice with a host of others to “testify of the love of God and Christ through music.” She says it “reaches parts of my soul untouched in any other way, and gives me the sacred opportunity to give the gift of that deep knowledge to others. Singing songs of God and faith brings peace, comfort, and joy to the soul. It brings peace to an aching heart, heals, and testifies of truth. The principles and truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ will reach deeper, mean more, and last longer when taught through music than any other way. Good music heals, lifts, and inspires goodness.”

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