Choir spreads joy to all — with and without hearing

December 12, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

 

Columbus Dispatch
Columbus, Ohio
By Ken Gordon
Dec 11, 2014

Ezra Somnitz couldn’t hear the Christmas carols on Saturday, but the 18-month-old wasn’t held back.

Just minutes into a performance by the seasonal choir Signs of Christmas, Ezra — who was born deaf — began squawking and clapping with delight while perched on his father’s lap at the Grove City Library.

He was reacting to the movements of the choir, whose holiday tunes are interpreted in American Sign Language as the lyrics are piped through a sound system.

“We thought he would enjoy it,” his mother, Melanie, said as her son squirmed in her arms afterward.

“I think he did. Can’t you tell?”

The “blended” family, of Commercial Point in Pickaway County, has attended a Signs of Christmas performance for the past few years, she said.

Like her son, her husband, Chris, is deaf; their two older children, 9 and 6, are not.

The family reflected the makeup of the audience as a whole on Saturday, with about half of the 30 people in attendance able to hear and the other half not.

“It just makes sign language and deafness seem normal and not a disability and not something that separates the community,” Mrs. Somnitz said. “It brings the communities — deaf and hearing — together.”

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