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Musicians join forces for the deaf

Several local groups, including the Hernando symphony and young Suzuki players, will perform to benefit Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.

By JOY DAVIS-PLATT, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 11, 2003

SPRING HILL -- Several groups will come together this evening to make music everyone can enjoy.

The Hernando Symphony Orchestra, the Suzuki Strings and Milo's Dixie Band will perform to benefit the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of Florida.

The idea for a concert like this came from Sally McCarthy, a 15-year veteran of the symphony orchestra and a volunteer for the nonprofit group.

"This is something I believe in a great deal," said McCarthy, whose 18-year-old son Jimmy was born deaf. "And I was a musician long before I was a mother."

After studying music in college, McCarthy went on to become a nurse.

"My favorite part is always meeting the other parents," said McCarthy, who plays violin with the symphony. "It's nice to help people along the road I've been down."

Guest singers Tom Russell and Leanne Germann will perform popular Broadway tunes with the orchestra, including music from The Phantom of the Opera, The Music Man and Les Miserables.

"I love to do things for the community whenever I'm asked," said Germann, "especially when it's something like this."

Charlotte Murrin, a Suzuki instructor, said about 25 Suzuki students will lend their budding talents on the violin to the event.

"This absolutely gives them a sense of participating in the community," she said. "It lets them show the accomplishments they have made."

The Suzuki numbers will include a Seitz concerto featuring some of Murrin's more advanced students; Perpetual Motion, a variation on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and something a bit less classical.

"There is a hoedown piece that is very fast, very lively," Murrin said. "This is more fiddle music."

About 24,000 people in Hernando County have some level of hearing loss, McCarthy said. With that in mind, an interpreter will sign all music that is sung. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of Florida can be reached at (727) 816-1314.

This evening's concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Mariner United Methodist Church, 7079 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill. Tickets are $5. Call 686-3724.

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