BYU Philharmonic Orchestra Performance. Photo courtesy of Utley.
By Quincey Taylor
First semester nursing student Morgan Utley has a lot on her plate. Not only did she get accepted to the nursing program in January, but she is one of only two current nursing students that are performers in the BYU Philharmonic Orchestra. They will be performing on the 13th of February, 2019.
Utley’s passion for nursing started when her grandpa moved from Montana to Utah to stay in an assisted-care facility. He has had advanced Parkinson’s disease since he was 32. Because he was now closer to where she was living, Utley was able to see him more often. She says, “I started to spend a lot more time with him, and I just found that I liked bonding with him and other patients at the care facility. I ended up talking to the nurses there a lot, finding out what they do and trying to understand why they were giving him certain medications. I subconsciously got so involved in his care and even the treatment of other patients, that I decided this was something I should try in school.” Utley then started the dramatic switch from music to nursing major.
At the same time, Utley started volunteering at Intermountain Medical Center to see if nursing was a good fit. She was immediately placed in the ICU after telling hospital administrators, “Give me your hardest unit. Don’t put me at the info desk, I want to know if this is something I want to do!” She loved taking the prerequisites for the program and feels that, “Everything just clicked.”
Balancing the two passions is not always easy. When asked how she does it, Utley comments, “Honestly, it’s tough. I don’t want to completely give up music. It’s a part of me, it’s something I’ve been doing since I was seven years old. It’s a class I really enjoy, and it helps me stay well-rounded.” She hopes this skill will eventually help her get into a master’s program, especially considering colleges are partial to students with additional skills and passions outside the medical field.
Utley plans to continue playing the viola for “the Phil” until she graduates, although she recognizes that sometimes her nursing obligations will need to take precedent. For now, she will continue to show up to orchestra practice — clad in her hospital scrubs.
The Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing on February 13th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in the HFAC. Notorious for pushing the limits of university-level orchestras, they will be performing Brahm’s 3 (which many schools would consider out of the skill range of their students), an original piece written by a BYU composition major student, and a never-recorded Argentine piece written in the late 1800’s.