[dbaust] Re: Inspiring pianist plays on without sight or sound

Inspiring indeed.

Stephen


-----Original Message-----
From: dbaust-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:dbaust-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Trudy Ryall
Sent: Friday, 24 February 2012 3:46 PM
To: dbaust@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [dbaust] Inspiring pianist plays on without sight or sound


Friends,
This is a  article about a friend of mine Michelle Stevens who is deaf blind
and is a gifted piano player.  She is doing a fund raising event.
Trudy


Inspiring pianist plays on without sight or sound  advertised in the Age


Michelle Stevens and Thai Phuong Nguyen. Photo: John Woudstra

ANYONE needing inspiration to follow their dreams could start by listening 
to Michelle Stevens play piano.

She is blind. And deaf. And she plays with feeling and clarity.

Blind since infancy, she grew up to become a semi-professional pianist, 
playing at clubs and on television. But she thought that was over after 
losing most of her hearing in the early 1990s as the result of an ear 
disease.

But in 2006, staff at Able Australia, a not-for-profit organisation in 
Camberwell for people with multiple disabilities, reintroduced her to music.

Returning to Bach, Percy Grainger and The Girl from Ipanema, she could feel 
the piano's vibrations. A cochlear implant gives a smidgen of hearing. The 
piano evokes wonderful memories and she's good at playing it. It's a joy to 
her now to make other people happy and she's studying for her associate 
diploma of music.

Tomorrow, to raise funds for Able Australia, Stevens (pictured) will play at

an event called Stage Fright. It's on from 10am to 4pm at the Cross Culture 
church, Swanston Street, opposite the State Library. It aims to enable shy 
people and procrastinators to play instruments, sing, recite poetry and 
display art in a supportive environment.

The organiser is Thai-Phuong Nguyen, 23, an occupational therapist who last 
year volunteered at Able Australia.

Nguyen (also pictured) always wanted to learn violin but was afraid of 
failure. A year ago, she realised ''it's now or never'', so she bought a 
violin and started lessons. She will play at Stage Fright. The program 
consists of 25 performers she found at bus stops, through friends and 
online. Nguyen says proceeds from the gold coin entrance fee go to Able 
Australia but the day's aim is also to ''improve the performers' confidence 
and make them feel they're a part of something and have achieved 
something''.




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