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Blind in the Musical Arts coming April 12

Posted: March 25, 2014 5:02 p.m.
Updated: March 26, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Two blind soprano singers will perform in a special concert at the Fine Arts Center (FAC) of Kershaw County to benefit the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina (NFBSC). The Blind in the Musical Arts will take place April 12 at 7 p.m. and will feature blind recitalists Sarah Massengale and Jessica Ewell.

Originally approached by NFBSC President Parnell Diggs to help put together a fundraiser program, Massengale said she was glad to be able to use both her musical talent and her marketing background to get the event set up. She said Diggs suggested Ewell would also be a good performer to include.

Massengale describes herself as "a classically trained soprano (who incorporates) all different types of music" into her concert. She explained that though her concerts are primarily composed of classical music performances, she also blends "Broadway and church music" into them.

"When I do recitals," Massengale said, "I tend to do sets of all different types of music. It depends on the audience."

The audience tends to respond very well at her concerts, she said.

"They get to hear something they’re not used to, something they may not have heard before," she said.

Because classical music can often be difficult for audience members to interpret, Massengale said she usually discusses each piece with the crowd. She said she talks to them about the piece they’re hearing and it helps them enjoy the music more.

Inspired by the "beauty of music," Massengale said she aims to also use music as a tool to educate her audiences.

"They will come away from the concert with a night of beautiful and an opportunity to learn something about it," she said, adding that she enjoys the opportunity music affords her to "take on different roles and characters."

Massengale graduated from the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and earned a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from Converse College. Throughout her college years, she studied voice with various accomplished musicians. Massengale has been a sought after recitalist throughout South Carolina, performing for local clubs and charitable organizations, as well as for organizations such as the SC Board Association and NFBSC.

Massengale said she and Ewell seek to use the concert not only as an opportunity to showcase their own talents, but as a means of showing that the blind are as equally equipped to succeed in the field of performance as their sighted peers.

Tickets for the recital are $50 each, are tax-deductible and will benefit the NFBSC. To purchase tickets, call the FAC at 425-7676. Tickets can also be purchased at the door the night of the concert or at www.etix.com.

"This fundraiser will strengthen the NFBSC and will give exposure to us and other artists like us," Massengale said. "We’re told we can’t do things because we’re blind. We can be a source of encouragement and show others they can do this too."

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