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Liver Transplant Creates Second Act for an Operatic Life

Times Union

How would you express your gratitude for an anonymous liver donor whose selfless act while dying saved your own life?

Rich Miller turned to a liturgical composition by one of the world’s greatest composers. He invites the public to experience this unique expression of gratitude in the form of an 18th-century Mass performed by musicians and singers. The Rev. Kenneth Paulli, associate professor of education and chief of staff at Siena College, will officiate.

“My donor is a hero to me. He is with me every step of the way. He gave me a second act and I wanted to find a way to say thank you,” said Miller, 57, of Loudonville, an attorney and trained opera singer who serves as president of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, a fundraising and educational arm of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

Miller received a life-saving liver transplant at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City on May 31, 2021. He has made a full recovery following a two-year ordeal that began with excruciating back pain and involved numerous treatments as doctors toiled to keep his failing liver functioning long enough for him to qualify for a transplant procedure as time was running out.

“I credit the power of positive thinking and our faith for keeping us going,” said his wife, Carol Miller.

“Rich went through hell and back. He showed extraordinary fortitude. I wish I could give him a patient’s Purple Heart,” said Dr. Matt Ben, a gastroenterology specialist with Albany Gastroenterology Consultants of Albany and Miller’s lead physician.

In gratitude, Miller will sing the tenor solos in the soaring and majestic liturgical composition, which Mozart wrote for the Salzburg Cathedral when he was likely still in his teens.

The public is invited to attend the special Mass on Saturday at 6 p.m. in St. Mary of the Angels Chapel on the Siena College campus in Loudonville. Miller has hired acclaimed performers from the Capital Region and New York City. Attendees are encouraged to make a donation to The American Liver Foundation.

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"Liver Transplant Creates Second Act for an Operatic Life," by Paul Grondahl was published in the Times Union on May 25, 2022.