A MAN FAMED for bringing music to the deaf is to make a personal appearance in Moray this evening to train local professionals working with deaf people.
Dr Paul Whittaker OBE founded the ‘Music and the Deaf’ charity in 1988, a unique organisation that provides musical opportunities for children and adults who live with a degree of hearing loss.
Awarded the OBE for Services to Music in 2007, Paul took to the stage to provide sign interpretation at the BBC Proms in 2010, making them the first accessible to the deaf in 116 years.
Now Dr Whittaker has arrived in Moray where he will deliver a training session to Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters (SASLI) at St James Church Hall in Lossiemouth.
Heather Johnson, an interpreter for Moray British Sign Language, told insideMoray: “We are extremely fortunate to have secured Paul’s most invaluable time and we are delighted that he has found time in his hectic international schedule to visit and share his expertise with us.”
During his visit to Moray, Dr Whittaker has agreed to join local interpreters and staff from Deaf Education in a fundraising concert for SASLI and the Moray Deaf Ministry.
Speaking of the BBC Proms in 2010, at which he worked alongside Dame Judi Dench who was making her Proms debut with a reprise of Sondheim’s ‘Send in the Clowns’, Dr Whittaker said: “I am committed to try and make music events accessible and trying to get deaf people involved.”
Totally deaf at five-years-old, he asked his parents if he could learn the piano – as they were both musical they encouraged him. He said: “It is one of the easiest things to play as a deaf person because you know that note on the stave is that note on the piano.
“It is very, very physical – when you press a key down you feel a hammer hit a string. The vibration travels up your arm and every one of those notes feels different.”
An evening in the company of Dr Paul Whittaker is being held in St James Church, Lossiemouth this evening at 7.30pm.
The performance of ‘Harmony in Hand’ will be accompanied by Soprano Maureen Halkett, Claire Penny on piano and Flautist Rosemary Anderson.
Tickets are still available priced at £6 with concessions at £3 from firstname.lastname@example.org, or Heather Johnson can be contacted by calling or texting 07867 531862.