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‘I’m deaf, I’m blind, but look what I can do’: Sign language concert to raise money for assistance dog charities

Sound and Vision group are putting on a concert to raise money for Guide dogs for the Blind and Hearing dogs for Deaf People. From left, Jill Easton, Ells McHaffie and Cath French. Picture by Kath Flannery/DCT Media.
Sound and Vision group are putting on a concert to raise money for Guide dogs for the Blind and Hearing dogs for Deaf People. From left, Jill Easton, Ells McHaffie and Cath French. Picture by Kath Flannery/DCT Media.

Sound and Vision are rehearsing for their new show Paws for Applause to raise money for charities that support guide and hearing dogs.

Opening with the popular uplifting anthem This Is Me, the group will be performing 16 songs in their themed setlist, 14 of which will be performed in British Sign Language with a backing track.

Though the group took a break over the pandemic, they are back and ready to wow Aberdeen audiences with their talent this June.

Previous concerts held in 2018 and 2019 raised funds for North East Sensory Services, raising more than £4500.

Sound and Vision group with dogs Alfie and Blossom. Picture by Kath Flannery/DCT Media.

The event will showcase the talent of the deaf and visually impaired in the local community, this year with a theme highlighting the invaluable work of guide and hearing dogs.

Fraser Crerar, 64, is one of the main organisers of the event and will be compere at the concerts.

Much like the character in The Greatest Showman, Mr Crerar says that their opening song empowers the performers by giving them the chance to say, “Yes, I’m deaf, I’m blind, but look what I can do.”

Assistance dogs provide invaluable support

The concert is an opportunity for the group to raise funds for the dogs that help support them day to day, says Mr Crerar.

“Some of our songs focus on the theme of relying on others, like deaf and blind people do with their assistance dogs,” he said.

“A brother and sister are going to perform during Bruno Mars’ song, Count On Me, as deaf and blind people can count on their assistance dog to make their lives better.”

The Sound and Vision choir is made up of 10 British Sign Language students, including a family of four.

From left, Jerry Coleman, Lesley Crera and Kay Hamilton. Picture by Kath Flannery/DCT Media.

There will be group and solo performances, as well as a sibling duet.

Visually-impaired musician, Jerry Coleman, is among the talented group performing.

A self-taught jazz saxophonist, Mr Coleman will perform two solos at the concert.

Enjoying the challenge

Learning the BSL signs at rehearsals can be quite arduous but the performers are enjoying the challenge.

Some pieces involve learning as many as 100 signs – per song.

The two concerts will take place on Saturday, June 11 at St. Mark’s church with a matinee at 2.30pm and and an evening performance at 7pm.

Tickets cost £10 and can be bought from The Co–op, 204 Union Street.

All proceeds will go to Guide Dogs for the Blind and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

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