Adored by friends and family for her kind heart and musical talent, Shelby Ward has always dreamed of playing with the world-renowned Orchestra at Temple Square. Unfortunately, Shelby experienced health challenges that put her dream on hold—but that didn't stop Random Acts from making it come true anyway during Season 1!
Believe it or not, the music and the kindness don’t stop there! Shelby paid her random act forward in Season 2 of Random Acts—if you look closely, you’ll see Shelby amongst the volunteer orchestra that surprised music teacher Weston Scow on his birthday. We wanted to know more, so Shelby told us what it’s like to experience Random Acts on both sides of the surprise! Keep reading below as she describes what it’s like to make dreams come true, how she got involved in Season 2, and why little things make a big difference.
BYUtv: What was it like to be on the receiving end of a Random Acts project?
Shelby: I never thought I would have the opportunity to have one of my biggest dreams come true. To have so much time and effort be put into coordinating the episode on my behalf was absolutely surreal. I felt truly blessed and honored to have been nominated for such a wonderful experience.
BYUtv: Tell us about performing with the Orchestra at Temple Square!
Shelby: Ever since I was a little girl, my parents have had Music and the Spoken Word playing on our little TV in the kitchen. I could only dream of being on that stage with all the other talented musicians I would watch each Sunday.
While sitting in the audience at the Tabernacle on March 13, 2016, and hearing my name being announced on the intercom, I was flabbergasted when I was told that I was to be the special guest to perform with this amazing group of musicians! I teared up in the hallway and felt like a princess getting ready for her coronation. After getting my hair and makeup done, and being interviewed, I truly felt like a celebrity!
While playing my instrument onstage, I felt very small amidst a sea of instruments playing beautiful sounds that resonated around me. I knew I would cherish that moment forever! I felt a new sense of pride in myself after the concert was over, and having fulfilled an almost impossible dream I was reminded that anything is possible and dreams really can become a reality.
BYUtv: Why did you decide to get involved in Season 2 of Random Acts?
Shelby: I wanted to see what it would be like to be the one getting everything ready in secret without the recipient around, and then to see what their reaction would be when they saw the reveal. Literally one of the best parts of Random Acts is when the recipient tears up with joy when they are given a special gift, that they’ve either always wanted or always needed, and had never expected their dream to come true.
BYUtv: What was it like to be on the giving end of a Random Acts project?
Shelby: The best part about being on the giving end of Random Acts was seeing Weston Scow’s surprised reaction as he saw his brand-new upright piano being played by Jason Lyle Black, along with a small orchestra accompanying him. I had the music memorized by this point, considering all the times we rehearsed it that day alone, and many of my own memories were flooding back. I loved the fact that I could relate to Weston, and other recipients of Random Acts, since it truly is a special moment to have someone’s dream come true!
BYUtv: What is your advice for people who want to perform their own random act of kindness?
Shelby: Keep your chin up high in public and don’t be afraid to look around for something you can do to help. Giving service doesn’t always have to be huge like they do on Random Acts. One day, I saw a note on the bathroom mirror at college that read, “Smile, be happy!” After reading and re-reading that simple note, I was happy for the rest of that day. So get out there and be brave. If you are shy, just begin with the little things, because even the little things can make a huge difference in someone’s life. You won’t know until you try it yourself.
Season 2 may be over, but the kindness never stops! Visit randomactstv.com to watch episodes on-demand and stay up-to-date on all things Random Acts!