Jeff and Anita Miller’s daughter Ariana was born with a rare, complex congenital heart disease. She underwent six open heart surgeries, five before she was 2½ years old. For several years, she was able to lead a normal life; she played piano, and loved to sing (she had perfect pitch). She spent the last five months of her life in the hospital, waiting for a heart donor who never materialized. She was 13 years old when she died in 2008.
Barbara Reuer’s team provided music therapy to Ariana before and during her final hospitalization and ICU stay. After her passing, the Millers recalled the significant effect this service had on their daughter, and came up with the idea of staging a concert featuring incredibly talented young performers from San Diego, to showcase the best of the best, to help raise money for children like Ariana.