Deaf community choir break the mould by celebrating music through sign language

Hands in Harmony, a Limerick based deaf community choir are determined to break the stigma against the abilities of deaf people through an untraditional way of celebrating music. 

The choir, which uses Irish Sign Language (ISL) to sign to music, was set up three years ago by the Deaf Community Centre (DCC) to create a social activity for both deaf and hearing people to celebrate music together and to bring isolated deaf into the community.

However funding and resources are a problem for the DCC. Choir member Shane Buckley said:

“Funding is a very big issue for us here. It’s hard to get staff members with ISL because we have no funding. Normally you would get staff from the CE scheme but we can’t get anybody with ISL.”

Choir conductor and ISL interpreter Carri O’Donnell believes that society’s misconceptions of deaf people’s abilities are their greatest disability:

“There’s nothing wrong with deaf people at al. The thing is they don’t get the services provided , they don’t get the funding or the support in society and that’s the disability, not that they’re deaf. They have awful problems trying to fight that attitude.”

Find out more about Hands in Harmony via Facebook.

* This story and video were developed as part of an ongoing collaboration between the Irish Examiner and the Univeristy of Limerick.

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