Sun | Oct 21, 2018

LETTER OF THE DAY - Blind singers a sight to behold

Published:Saturday | September 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller

I find it quite ironic that this phrase, written by Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf, described my feelings after watching a performance two Saturday evenings. I found myself coming to tears as I sat in the audience for the Jamaica Folk Singers' show at the Little Theatre in Kingston.

Incorporated into the programme was a feature by a group of blind singers. Their voices, powerful and harmonious, gave no indication that they lacked vision. Their stage presence was calculated, impressive and attention-grabbing.

How heart-warming it was to know that the blind members of our community, at least some of them, were able to participate in showcasing not only our cultural heritage, but could also display their own talents as well.

The lack of support and funding to propel the performing arts industry in Jamaica is in and of itself an issue. It seems then that it will be even harder for blind, deaf and other persons with any kind of disability to enter into this industry. But, it is achievable. What of performances by the blind singers at national events? What of them acting in plays? Or even hiring them to teach Braille?

There are so many ways in which we can engage the blind in our local communities as well as nationally. It is my fervent hope that other opportunities will be developed in Jamaica for our blind citizens, not just in the performing arts, but all across the board. They have as much to contribute as a person with sight, and in some respects, even more.

Thanks to the organisers of the Jamaica Folk Singers for taking such an important step in raising not only awareness for the blind members of our community, but also highlighting that they have unique abilities, far greater than any disability.