How the story began with Otto playing hide-and-seek with his friends, getting lost in the pear orchard, finding three mysterious girls, and been given a harmonica to pass on to other people.
Friedrich and his family are living in Germany in the time where the Nazi's are starting to take control.
Friedrich is walking alone to work for the first time without his father. He feels like he's being watched and pointed at by people passing by because of his birthmark on the left side of his face. Friedrich feels very uncomfortable.
Flashback of Friedrich's childhood: because of his birthmark, Friedrich was always called names and made fun of for "waving his hands in the sky" (conducting). Friedrich hears music wherever he goes, thinking to was it sounds like, gets lost within it, and would start conducting. His father was fuming when Friedrich had gotten home with multiple injuries. A lip so swollen he can barely talk, a cut on his forehead that had to be stitched, and a broken wrist. Even the headmaster disagrees with Friedrich not looking "normal."
Friedrich's father had been taken into custody by two soldiers that were commanded to inspect his uncle next.Having the money that his older sister, Elisabeth, had secretly sent him he boarded a train, only to find out that those same soldiers were inspecting papers from the passengers. When they inspected his papers, they first let him go, before realizing who he was and telling him to give up possession of his satchel. Which had his father's money within it. The soldiers, Eiffel and Faber, ended up capturing Freidrich and throwing him over one of their shoulders while walking down the hallway to get off of the train.
Mike and Frankie Flannery are brothers that have a natural talent for the piano. Both are put into separate orphanages because of age differnces.
Mike waking up to his brother Frankie sending Mike a signal that he was outside of their separated orphanages and that he had news to tell him. They were going to be meeting with a farmer and his wife, so he can make them work.
Mike and Frankie are sitting in the Visitation Room, waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Rutledge to arrive. When they arrived though, things took a turn for the worst. Frankie ended up biting Mr. Rutledge's hand to make him let go of his arm, Mrs. Pennyweather (the one who runs the orphanage) wants to separate the brothers, even though she promised their grandmother that she'd keep them together.
Mike and Frankie were escaping after Mike saw the papers of returning them to the orphanage on their adoptive mother's desk. While climbing down the tree closest to their window, Mike accidentally dropped the harmonica and reached down to get it. He grabbed it before he lost balance and fell from the tree, flat on his back. He heard the faint sound of Brahms' Lullaby on the cello and Frankie's voice before his world faded into darkness.
Ivy Maria Lopez starts her story when she suddenly has to move again from Fresno County. Ivy doesn't want to leave because of the her best friend staying, as well as preforming a song on the harmonica for the local radio station.
When Ivy gave her father the envelope that she had gotten earlier, she suddenly felt dread as she was running to meet her friend, Araceli, in the pepper trees. She poured her heart out to Araceli about moving yet again into another place, but this time, her new home will be in Los Angeles. About missing the chance to play her solo on the radio. And going to a new school.
Ivy and her mother were walking along a path to get laundry done and to get the mail. Ivy talked to her mother and asked her questions that her mother didn't really know how to answer. The questions were about Ivy and her classmates performing for the local radio station. The Colgate Family Hour.
While finishing up the signs to sell oranges for war bonds, Ivy saw the same boy riding on the bicycle ride by, and she waved. But he rode faster. Ivy started so complain to Susan, her new friend in Los Angeles, saying that he never waved back every time she waved. Susan went pale and told Ivy who the boy was. He delivered news to the parents of the people that were fighting in the war. Susan asked Ivy which way he went, and Ivy told Susan that the boy was riding towards her own house. Ivy went pale and she started to dash towards her house while Susan was running behind her. By the time Ivy got there, the boy was already knocking on the door of her house.
Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy were accepted into the Empire Philharmonic. Friedrich as the conductor, Mike as a pianist, and Ivy as a flutist. Friedrich's uncle and father were there to watch the performance. Mike's younger brother and adoptive parents were there to watch. And Ivy's family friend was there to watch her.
Ivy had been nervously tapping her foot in the dressing room where she resided before going on stage to play her flute solo. She had talked to her conductor, Friedrich Schmidt, and a pianist, Mike Flannery, about her anxiety of performing in front of a hall full of people. She was also the youngest person there. Thinking about past events. When she saw the boy on the bicycle in front of her house she was scared that her brother, Fernando, had died in the war. She felt relieved when it was news that he had gotten a wound and would be sent home after he had gotten discharged from the hospital. Ivy was snapped out of her trance by the clapping of the crowd. She wished that her parents and her brother would be in the hall to hear and see her performance, but she felt pride in knowing that the person who bought her flute, Kenny Yamamoto, would be in the crowd.
Mike was pacing back and forth in the lobby of Carnegie Hall, where he would be performing his piano solo. His brother, Frankie, had become a lawyer in law school. His adoptive mother, Aunt Eunie, got married to Mr. Howard. Mr. and Mrs. Potter, the maid and gardener of Aunt Eunie's house, were visiting their daughter and grand children in Atlantic City. Talking about reservations to eat roasted beef, ice cream, and cake for Mike making it into the Empire Philharmonic. Friedrich Schmidt as his conductor, Mike talked to Frankie about working for him to legalize papers for his uncle and father. Turns out that when he fell out of the tree, he only got the breath knocked out of him, and slipped into unconsciousness.
Friedrich, his father, and his Uncle Gunter are in Carnegie Hall in New York, congratulating Friedrich to making it this far. To being a conductor after rescuing his father from the Nazi boot camp. Friedrich had conducted many times before, but tonight was a pinnacle debut. It was his dream to conduct in Carnegie Hall, with his father and uncle watching in front row seats.