Teenager with cancer gets his wish: a new cello, plus surprise performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra

Posted on: December 19, 2019

“When 16-year-old Kyle Levy arrived at the Kimmel Center last October, he was simply a high school musician on a field trip with bandmates to watch a rehearsal of the Philadelphia Orchestra,” writes Shaun Brady in Monday’s (12/16) Philadelphia Inquirer. “An hour later, he was stunned to find himself onstage, playing on a brand-new cello created just for him, under the baton of conductor Nathalie Stutzmann. The remarkable afternoon, masterminded by Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley, was the highlight of an extremely difficult year for the young cellist, who is a junior at Central Bucks South High School.” Levy has leukemia. “Many families [assume] that the [Make-A-Wish] organization’s wishes are intended solely for terminally ill children. Not so, said Dennis Heron, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley…. [After receiving] his gorgeous new instrument … Kyle took his place in the spotlight to play Stephen Melillo’s hymn, ‘That Which Remains,’ which the school orchestra had been rehearsing for its own concert the following night…. ‘It was very moving,’ said Philadelphia Orchestra CEO Matías Tarnopolsky. ‘Music can give voice to thoughts and feelings that words alone cannot, and that’s what you saw happening with Kyle.’ ”