Dec 11, 2018 | By: Rachel Johnson

CLC’s American Sign Language Concert Provides Equal Access To Music To The Deaf Community

Music is something that so many of us enjoy, but for the hard of hearing and the deaf community, they often do not have the same luxury. That was not the case today at Central Lakes College during the American Sign Language class’s annual performance.

The Chalberg Theater at CLC was alive with music today as students in the American Sign Language III class performed their final projects.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into it. It’s months and months of breaking down the song, figuring out what it means, and trying to put it into things that match the beats and stuff of the music,” said ASL student Amanda Ledford.

The volume was loud so attendees could feel the vibrations of the music as students signed the lyrics to offer the full experience for the deaf community.

“The music in a concert is the whole experience. It’s not just the words, and that’s why this really is important for the deaf community,” explained Emily Smith-Lundberg, Deaf Language Mentor at CLC. “To give the full experience for the deaf community.”

The attendees of the concert were given a balloon that allowed them to feel the vibrations of the music, adding a whole other dimension to the performance.

“The music has to be loud so the deaf and hard of hearing people in our community can feel it. The balloons help to transmit the vibrations. It allows the deaf and hard of hearing to feel the beats of what we’re doing and how deep or fast or slow they’re going,” explained Ledford.

American Sign Language is the third most commonly used language in the United States and is an important and popular area of study.

“You will meet deaf people in your life. It’s inevitable, and we want that experience to be positive,” added Smith-Lundberg.

According to the instructors and students, it’s very important that sign language is offered in schools.

“ASL classes are so important. It really does make a global perspective for students to learn about people that are different than themselves who are in our community and they can meet on a daily basis,” said Tanya Hoting Mrazek, CLC ASL Instructor.

The projects and the ASL class not only enhanced the students’ knowledge of sign language, but it has also increased their confidence.

“I love seeing the students grow as a person. They learn the language but they learn the culture too, and they grow themselves as a person by stretching themselves,” Smith-Lundberg said.

“The students start scared and nervous and kind of [like] little mice a lot of times, and by the end they’re monsters on the stage,” said Hoting Mrazek. “They take control of it and they own it. So, it’s a great experience for them.”

The American Sign Language classes at Brainerd High School will be offering their community concert in early May. More information will be released during the spring.

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