Lucy begged her way into having us join MCO (her choir) for the New England Tour this summer. And boy, there’s a lot to say about that. Her determination and love of this choir is pretty special to see I think. It was one jam-packed and also unforgettable week. Grace joined me and Lu, and we had some pretty grand highs and also some scary stuff that I will write about soon. But as for today, since it’s the 4th of July, I want to start with the “feeling patriotic” part of that trip.

Because there was a lot of feeling pretty grateful for this country where we live. Hundreds of kids and adults just singing their hearts out about things like Paul Revere and “Grand Old Flag” at Boston Symphony Hall and also near the Old North Bridge. You could tell they just felt it to the core. And I think that’s so important in today’s current landscape.

When you sing about something, I believe it does something to you that helps it dig in there and make a home in your heart. MCO does such a good job teaching kids to be grateful for the United States of America. When you are grateful for your country it does something to help you uphold and respect it in ways that make not only that country of yours, but you, better.

The cool thing is that all the MCO (Millenial Choirs & Orchestras) locales converged in Boston for this tour, and my brother’s SIX KIDS are also in the Utah MCO locale.

So these two cousins got to perform in the same concert, and I’ll let this picture tell how they felt about that:

Also, Lucy went from one of my brothers building her up in Blakely to another in Boston. And that is pretty special.

Ok, and a pretty incredible sister:

Lu and I arrived directly from Seattle where we left off, and Grace joined us late that night. It was a happy reunion.

A Recording at Minute Man National Park

Bright and early the next morning we met up with the choir at Minute Man National Park for a recording.

Now, I’m acting like that was just simple, but can I tell you something? Thousands of people traveled to New England for this thing. Full families saved up to get to this spot to be in this crowd of singers and musicians. When I think of all the travel and all the chaos and management it took to pull off this tour I’m just so grateful for all who worked so hard to make it happen. I cannot even imagine the logistics it took, and the dedication of so many to get there, attire in check, standing in the hot sun (there was a heat wave in New England). It kind of baffles my mind.

I’m just so grateful for it all. And that my girl finds so much satisfaction in it.

Loved that in the midst of all those mobs of people at that park that morning we found these guys without even texting them. My cousin and his son included.

Old North Bridge

After the recording Grace, Lu and I went to the North Bridge where the “shot was heard around the world.”

Gosh there is so much history in this place, here’s a snippet:

I love that it says “the resolve of citizens willing to risk their lives for the ideals of liberty and self-determination” was essential for the formation of the American identity.

Do we have that today? If not, how can we gain it?

The Freedom Trail

We had such a short time in Boston amidst the practices, the recording and performances (they also performed in Palmyra and there’s so much more to say about that soon). This was all fine and dandy, but we didn’t have a ton of time for following the Freedom Trail.

But here’s a snippet:

Paul Revere’s House

Love that Grace and I got to sneak over to the North End during Lucy’s practice and think a little more deeply about Paul Revere.

I read The Tipping Point recently that has so much interesting information about Paul Revere if you are interested in checking that out!

The Boston Symphony Hall Concert

Since the choir is so big with all these different locales across the Western United States, it was split into three concerts at Boston Symphony Hall. Lucy switched from the AZ choir to join the Utah one so that we could enjoy the same concert.

I loved watching her and her cousin up there together just singing their hearts out in the balcony.

So many patriotic songs with so much energy in that choir and orchestra.

Such beautiful music with those waving flags and the swell of gratitude for America bouncing off the walls in that acoustical wonder of a place, vibrating from the hearts of all the musicians.

As you can see, the joy was vibrating from Miss Lucy:

Oh I so love how happy this makes her!

Eva and her family joined us for the performance:

I talked about Eva’s recent visit and also her love of our country that is so contagious. So fun to reunite with them. Check out her Instagram right now which is chock-full of love for America (she came here from Bulgaria as an adult and knows to be so grateful for the freedoms we enjoy!). I love that she tells her story so beautifully in this instagram post.

We had some pretty supportive sisters too:

All these MCO cousins (all SIX of my brother’s kids are in MCO, which is baffling thinking of getting them to all the practices, they are amazing!) and Eva’s daughter Skye just basking in that post-concert moment:

Move all these people.

Happy 4th of July!

And on this morning 4th of July I want to just share my love for this country of ours. I am so very grateful for all the sacrifices that are made to establish our country and keep it safe. For the chance to explore our history a little more this summer and grow more appreciation for this place we call home.

Oh we have things to improve, that’s for sure. But who is in charge of doing the improving? Us. Each one of us as we look for the good and celebrate it in our own corners of the world. Not only in our country as a whole, but in each other. In ourselves.

And I believe that part of showing love of our country is loving and respecting other countries too. Boy there are so many out there doing so much good. Sometimes we talk of all the tough stuff. The darkness, the worries. But man alive, there is SO MUCH GOOD in every corner. May we bond together in this goodness we can cultivate, and change the world one step at a a time.

Happy 4th of July from our family to yours!!

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  1. “ When you are grateful for your country it does something to help you uphold and respect it in ways that make not only that country of yours, but you, better.”

    These words hit home! So grateful for this beautiful country we’re blessed to be a part of.

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