The Blindness Arts issue of Disability Studies Quarterly is finally here! This special issue, edited by Hannah Thompson and Vanessa Warne, represents several years of work, research, performance, and art among disabled contributors. My piece is called “Sacred Positions: A Personal History of Blindness and Singing.” This is how it begins… On a crisp December evening, … More My musical essay in Disability Studies Quarterly!
Today the September issue of Wordgathering is live, and my essay, ‘Sketching the Rose,” is the sole piece in the Music section! Here’s how the piece begins: Summer can be a slow season for my barbershop chorus. We enter regional competition in April, and if our scores are good enough, we’ll compete on the international … More “Sketching the Rose” in the September issue of Wordgathering!
Today Minnesota Public Radio published my reflections on the rigors of barbershop singing: “For musicians and non-musicians alike, “barbershop singing” recalls The Music Man‘s Ice Cream Quartet and the bright hum of a pitch pipe. Audiences won’t guess that participation in barbershop singing can entail three-hour rehearsals, vowel-matching, breath plans, lyric mapping, and international competition. … More Article: “Barbershop singing: A true test of vocal prowess, with or without straw hats”
My three-part essay, “Sight and Singing,” appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Breath & Shadow: A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature: “I enter the large conference room, holding Kerry’s elbow. High ceilings and bare floors amplify the sound of our students’ voices as we find seats at the long folding tables. Most of … More Essay: Sight and Singing
If a friendship starts with a conversation about books, the two friends are hardly surprised when literature itself becomes a third, equal presence in the relationship. This is how things began for Katie and me. Katie became my first “college friend” when an orientation team leader asked her to look after me. Both Katie and … More “Singing Over the Bones”: The Miracle of Art and Intention
Eleven years ago, I sat in a cold, hard folding chair, ready to meet my high school chorus director and fellow singers for the first time. Arranged in three concentric semicircles, the chairs faced a creaky metal music stand, a sturdy conducting platform, and a white board, designed to resemble a giant sheet of staff … More Music Lessons
At 6:45 on Tuesday night, Sherry and I enter the rehearsal space. We are among the first to arrive. We thread our way through the round tables toward the front of the room and deposit our bags. Internally, I’m bouncing with excitement. After six long years of absence, I finally get to sing with these … More In the Care of a Chorus
After I graduate, I want to audition for a group that brings musicians and artists to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and similar facilities. The idea of singing as healing has always appealed to me, much more so than the thought of performing. I don’t feel the urge to be the center of attention onstage where … More The curing hymn