Her Priceless Smile Reminds Us That Kindness and Inclusion Matter

The video speaks for itself! Just watch Christina’s priceless and proud SMILE, while she is receiving a well deserved roaring Standing Ovation and endless, cheerful Applause after her marvelous performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy that she played with the Phoenix Youth Symphony.
Children like Christina who have a cognitive challenge are often excluded, discriminated against, misunderstood and overlooked. But we are here to change that. We want the world to know that EVERYONE regardless of what their challenge or circumstance may be, has feelings and understands hate and love, exclusion and inclusion.
Christina played 2 concerts that morning for hundreds of school-children from 12 different school-districts in an educational concert-series that was sponsored by the Arizona Musicfest.
When Christina got done playing her piece with the Phoenix Youth Orchestra, the kids in the audience spontaneously and united stood up, and gave her a roaring standing ovation and an endless and cheerful applause.

Can you see her glowing face? Can you see her smile that comes from deep within her soul? Can you see how proud and yet humble she is about this rewarding applause? Can you see how important inclusion and kindness is towards ALL people, not just those we deem worthy? Worthy according to who’s standards??? Can you see that she has feelings, too, and knows when she is being included and cherished?
Watching her stand there like this, with her sweet and humble smile, and seeing her peers in the audience cheering her on like she is some kind of famous rock-star, makes me cry every time. Why? Because Christina and individuals like her are so often excluded, made fun of, misunderstood, discriminated against, left out…every time when others execute this inexcusable behavior of exclusion, she cries and I cry with her. She hurts because of it, and her heart aches, because others make fun of her and leave her out and my heart aches with hers.
But on that beautiful day she was cherished, loved and included, because the amazing Phoenix Youth Symphony, and its amazing directors, managers and the amazing conductor Dr. Temme took a stand for Christina and for individuals like her and included this young girl in their professional concert, showing the world that by modification, flexibility, willingness and a little change of plans, it is possible to include those who have a special need and make them FEEL SPECIAL!!!

“People may not remember what you said, and people may not remember what you did. But they will Always remember How you made the FEEL!!!”

Did you know that after every rehearsal she had with the Phoenix Youth Symphony, she said “Thank You” to everyone and to the conductor?! (without me asking or prompting her by the way!).
Did you know that after the concert she gave the conductor, Dr. Temme, a BIG bear-hug and thanked him profusely? What aspiring young pianist says a true “Thank You” to the orchestra or to the conductor?…aside from the formal, mandatory handshake or hug after a concert? I have never seen it. But someone like Christina knows how to appreciate the effort of others and values it.
No more words are necessary, the video speaks for itself.
Watch and enjoy Christina’s Performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy with the amazing Phoenix Youth Symphony and conductor Dr. Temme and please SHARE with ALL you know.

Thank You!

Music Transforms You



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