Posted on 11th Aug 2015 @ 4:21 PM
Graham with Manny, the Music Coordinator for Visabilty.
You will no doubt be pleased to hear that the first lot of instruments valued at $2,640 that was funded by our 35th Anniversary Rock Quiz & Charity Auction has just been delivered to Visability WA (formerly The Blind Association). And what a humbling experience it was. I knew they had a need for equipment but I cannot overstate how much difference the donation you made possible of some microphones, a bass guitar and a new keyboard will make to their music programme.
I was fortunate to be shown around their facility and also to meet some of the people participating in their music lessons each week. It was challenging, humbling and exciting all at the same time.
Several members were “just getting old” so their sight was failing, but there was a big mix of people who have ended up there for all sorts of reasons. I met a young girl who woke up after having a diabetic seizure to find she absolutely no sight at all. Can you imagine just waking up one day & realising you will never be able to go back your job, or drive a car or even live independently?
And then there was a very fit looking young guy with great tattoos playing a really magnificent MusicMan John Petrucci electric guitar through a Limited Edition Fender “Blues Deluxe” Valve Combo with a boutique pedal board… not what I expected at all! It turns out he used to play in bands in Melbourne & was also a soldier in the army… that was until he stepped on a landmine while on active duty in Afghanistan & lost his sight. At 25.
The programme is run by a competent & capable guy called Manny who is also vision impaired & who plays the keyboard while directing the weekly practice sessions. You can tell the sessions are the highlight of the week for many of them & it was an absolute privilege for me that they let me sit through one of their meetings. Like any group of people getting together for a ‘jam’ not all of them had very good rhythm…. in fact a couple were terrible! But there was no snobbery or exclusiveness displayed at all… everyone as welcome & all of them were having a ball. Proving for me once again that, “Life IS Better When You Play!” & no more so than what I saw & heard today.
On behalf of everyone at Visability, thank you. You have made a difference. I will be going out to the Carson Street School next week to deliver another lot of instruments & will keep you updated.