Five-Year Old “Leads” the Choir
Graham Walton listens to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir every day. His favorite Choir song is whatever the Choir is singing, and he counts Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy as two of his best friends. Graham is five years old.
Born with only half of his heart functioning properly, Graham has had three major open-heart surgeries and eventually will need a heart transplant. But nothing is missing in his heart when it comes to his love for the Choir.
His father, Jeremy, explains that Graham was playing in the room while his parents watched general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he heard the Choir begin to sing. He stood right in front of the television and began to mimic the conductor as he led the Choir. He’s been “leading” the Choir ever since.
He and his parents attended sound check as guests of the Choir at Shoreline Amphitheatre in the Bay Area of Northern California. He sat on their laps and listened, pointing out when “his” conductors took turns at the podium. He refers to them as “Mack” and “Ryan.” He watches the Choir on YouTube, listens to recordings, and especially enjoys the Christmas DVDs—guest artist David Archuleta in particular.
At sound check the conductors took the Choir through the evening program. Even though the Choir didn’t sing all the way through any song—the conductors spot check parts of pieces—it didn’t matter to Graham. He sat fully enamored with “his Choir” and “his conductors.”
At the end Mack personally greeted Graham. Earlier this year, having heard of Graham’s love for the music of the Choir, Mack had sent him a card and very special gift for his birthday—his own baton.