Izzy strums her guitar on stage, a shy smile spreading across her face each time she steals a glance at her overjoyed mom. Under the spotlight with a backup band, this is the day Izzy has been waiting for, the sound of her own guitar filling the air for an audience of family and friends.
This special recital is the culmination of Izzy’s wish to be a student at Berklee College of Music and to receive acoustic guitar lessons. The 10-year-old grew up watching her extended family play instruments together and music has always been one of her favorite pastimes. It took on an even greater role in her life after her diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension, a progressive lung and heart disorder.
For her wish, Izzy was given a guitar and made an honorary Berklee student. She attended lessons at the school, proudly displaying her college ID. Eager and talented, she was soon using the guitar methods book for first year Berklee students!
On her recital day, Izzy was escorted by limousine to Macy’s to select a special outfit and enjoy a professional makeup application. Then it was off to have her hair done before arriving at Berklee to take the stage.
Izzy’s set list included songs with special meaning for her and her family, by music greats like Johnny Cash and Neil Young. Her grandfather joined her onstage for a performance of “Let it Be” by the Beatles.
“To watch my daughter perform was the most beautiful and moving experience I’ve ever had,” says her mom, Lorraine. “That night, as I was adjusting her oxygen tubes around her ears before bedtime, Izzy said, ‘Mom, this was a really good day.’”
Izzy’s wish helped her embrace the gift of music and will continue to give her strength in the months and years ahead. “When she is faced with health obstacles,” says Lorraine, “I know she will pick up her guitar and use it as healing music.”