In our last newsletter I wrote about the inspiring work of the world renowned Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School at the Lighthouse Guild, New York. It has a rich tradition and unparalleled expertise in music tuition for people who are visually impaired. The school’s ethos, evolved over the past one hundred years, emphasises the enrichment gained through life long musical experience. I outlined in the article our plans to establish a pilot music tuition project for children and adults based on the New York model. I would now like to update you on developments in that regard.
Beginning last June, a small but very enthusiastic group of visually impaired students and their tutors met for twelve consecutive Saturdays at our Ely Place premises. Together they created what may be Ireland’s most unique music school. The feedback from both pupils and teachers alike has been extremely positive and the original goals and ambitions for the pilot project have all been achieved. As a result of this remarkable accomplishment I am pleased to announce that Fighting Blindness will be substantially subsidising the Visionaries Music School for children and adults on an on-going basis. So, if you are interested in learning piano, guitar, banjo, clarinet or other woodwind instruments or would like to join our newly established Visionaries Choir, please contact Peter Gorey on 086 815 0145 to book yourself a class. The new term started on Saturday, September 5, 2015 but some places are still available. A twelve week course of tuition in any of these disciplines is €60.
One of the highlights of the pilot project was a visit to Ely Place by Daniel Gillen and his parents Roger and Mignon last July. Daniel is a graduate of the Lighthouse Guild and whilst here in Ireland visiting relatives he took time out to call in and see us. It was wonderful to hear first hand of Daniel’s experience as a student at the Lighthouse and indeed to receive the benefit of his parents’ perspective too. Daniel’s exuberance and passion for music filled the room as he enthralled us all with the inaugural performance on our newly delivered piano. Connections are an important part of life and I look forward to the time when a Visionaries graduate returns the compliment in New York.
Finally, if you have a reasonable quality musical instrument at home, in good order but no longer required, perhaps you would consider donating it to the Visionaries Music School. In this way we can ensure that anyone who wants to can avail of some valuable musical tuition irrespective of their financial circumstances.
John Delany, Senior Counselling Manager