Music Transcends Sight and Age When Envision Pairs Musicians With the Visually Impaired

WICHITA, Kan.—Blind and individuals with low vision joined with professional musicians at a music workshop held here, Saturday Feb. 22. The day-long event took place at the headquarters of the event’s sponsor, Envision, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of and providing inspiration for the blind and visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education and research.

In all, 54 blind and low-vision attendees, young and old, male and female, participated in the program. The workshop covered various forms of music, focused on performance, history and theory, rhythm and drumming, and playing other instruments. It culminated in a 90-minute dinner and jam session featuring the day’s participants.

Organizer Bonnie Cochran, director of support programs at Envision, said that the workshop “combined all ages to provide a forum where seniors can mentor younger kids, letting them see how vision loss can be dealt with as they age and that they can live full, happy lives,” she said. The event also gave “seniors an opportunity to feel very fulfilled, not only by making music but also by giving young people advice, sharing their experiences with them, and, of course, bonding over making the music together,” said Cochran.

Envision’s programs are open to individuals of all ages and range from music and art to athletics and outdoor experiences and more, as well as support groups for various age ranges.