Creative Performance Evening by those with a Disability.
The concert was incredible.
Each of the performers has a disability. Some have autism. Some have Down Syndrome. One tiny performer has cerebral palsy and a vision impairment.
But, on the night of the Creative Performance Evening, all disabilities were left at the door!
The evening was a chance to showcase wonderful talents - the rewards of hours of rehearsals and dance lessons.
The Performance Evenings are a chance to showcase the talents within the group, and is a major fundraiser for the Disability Trust. Over $11,000 was raised on Friday night!
The last few years, we have learned how it feels to be stared at.
Almost everywhere we go, we draw attention.
Well, Dexter does.
He's stared at... people wonder. They do 'double takes' and share whispered comments with their friends. Kids openly stare (as do some adults!).
Some people pity him... others pity us.
But, every now and again, Dexter gets a "Hello" and a 'How you goin' mate?"
And we get a genuine smile.
Those are good moments.
About a year ago, we took Dexter to meet a group of people.
They were named the Music Makers.
We didn't know much about them.
We walked (a little shyly) into the room, expecting to stay for a few moments,
say hi... introduce Dexter and leave.
We were there for a couple of hours!
That evening, for the first time, a group of people met Dexter and didn't question his disability. They didn't stare. They didn't pity. And, we fell in love with them.
Every adult in the room knew our story, because it was a story close to their heart. They also had children with disabilities.
And so, we stood and chatted and shared stories and laughed at various things the kids had done, and listened while hardships were shared, and we built an instant trust. We'd found family.
We've seen those strong, amazing women a few times over the last year.
Each time we meet, that strong trust and familiar bond remains.
These women have wrapped their arms around Lenice, both literally and figuratively. They have been mothers of children with a disability a little longer than she has, and they are ready to catch her, if she falls.
That is one powerful benefit we gained when we met the Music Makers.
We now personally know some really beautiful kids and young adults.
We know who will hug us and who will stand shyly near us.
We know who will smile and talk and who won't make eye contact.
We know who will need a little extra prompting, to remember the dance steps
and we know who will really shine on stage.
We know those kids, and they have taught us about strength and happiness and love. They've made us smile and have brought tears to our eyes.
We're so proud of them!
We're so proud they chose to include us in their circle of friendship.
Dexter's sister knows he is different. She looks at him and wonders.
Sometimes, she won't use her words, because she is copying Dexter.
She loves her brother, without doubt! Adores him.
She claps and cheers for him.
But soon, she will become aware of the stares, the comments and the negative judgments.
She will have to speak for Dexter, and this will be difficult for her.
She will be asked to make justifications for him, by ignorant people.
She will need a lot of inner strength and confidence.
On Friday night, she saw Dexter dancing on stage.
What a powerful message for her...
to realise, though Dexter gets many stares and cannot do what most kids his age do, he can have a go at anything, and be cheered for it.
It was a real concert...
lighting, sound, and Bianca, a popular local morning radio host, as the emcee.
People paid for tickets, to sit in the audience and celebrate the performers.
And, Dexter was on stage! He was one of them!
She danced through the whole song, and cheered afterwards.
At just one year old, she saw her brother on stage and heard the positive reaction from the audience.
Hopefully, Dexter will continue to have the opportunity to dance on stage, and his sister will grow up seeing these performances.
Then, when people are negative about her brother, she can draw on these amazing memories. She will learn to celebrate the great things... and turn her back against the criticisms and ignorant judgments.
I hope, one day, she too can become one of the Music Makers.
There are a group of incredible young ladies who perform with the Music Makers.
Some have a sibling with a disability.
They help the performers remember their steps and move them around the stage.
They are beautiful, inspiring young ladies.
Maybe, one day, Dexter's sister could help out in a similar way.
The 2014 Creative Performance Evening Dress Rehearsal video:
Through the Music Makers, the kids and young adults get a chance to showcase their abilities, and last night, they were fantastic!
Their smiles and enjoyment filled the concert room.
The Music Makers performed many songs during the night. They sang and danced and performed with professionalism and dedication.
They re-enacted scenes from the movie Grease, and did so beautifully... and very convincingly!
Amy performed 'You Raise Me Up', signing with incredible emotion.
They sang to 'Roar'. Dexter is non-verbal. We loved watching one of the performers during this singing act. She's also non-verbal... and yet, for that song, she stood very close to a microphone, and she sang. We watched her mouth moving and felt such love and pride.
That's what the Music Makers is all about.
Friday was a night for disabilities to be left at the door...
A night for talents to be shown... dedication and hours of rehearsal coming together in a truly incredible evening of dancing, signing and singing.
Melissa Tierney is the young lady behind the Music Makers.
She is an invaluable asset to the Disability Trust, and has such an incredible rapport with the performers. She is adored by their families. It is truly humbling to watch them all interacting.
The day Melissa walked into Dexter's lives was one of his luckiest days!
Melissa, you give the Music Makers (and their families) a chance to leave their disability behind, and dance. And be publicly celebrated, for who they really are.
I don't think I could ever explain just what that means to us.
Melissa does not work alone.
Among the crew are many, many members of her extended family.
We have such respect for this family. We've seen them in action on a few occasions, and it is always an amazing experience.
The way they pull together and work tirelessly is impressive, and the things they accomplish are even more impressive.
The families of the performers all help; sewing costumes and completing the behind-the-scenes tasks.
The entire cast, crew and family of the Music Makers should be extremely proud of their Performance Evening.
20 years old... and changing people's lives!
Over $11,500 raised for the Disability Trust (Over $50,000 in 5 years!)
Thank you. What you do means more than we can every explain. xx
Credit and thanks to all the performing acts!
Find their page here.
There was a slight glitch with our photography and video efforts on the night...
we didn't take any!
We will share some photos later.
We have ordered the professionally DVD.
You might be able to get one... if you contact us soon.
It costs $25.