Blind musicians stage eye-opening performance at fundraising event

Blind musicians stage eye-opening performance at fundraising event
Blind musicians stage eye-opening performance at fundraising event
Pictured at the event are (l-r) Miami Lighthouse chair Lou Nostro, president and CEO Virginia Jacko, with philanthropists Trish and Dan Bell.d

The 250 guests at the 2018 Music Under the Stars event enjoyed some-thing old and new at the same performance, as Miami Lighthouse musi-cians and chorus presented a new musical score to The Great Train Robbery, the iconic silent film.

As the gifted performers — all students and instructors of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind Music Program — provided live music and sound effects, the historic film classic flashed onscreen to the delight of the audience.

Presented at Miami Lighthouse’s Mary M. and Sash A. Spencer Campus on May 16, Music Under the Stars raised funds for its Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program, a statewide Miami Lighthouse initiative that provides free eye care and prescription glasses to underserved students throughout Florida.

Last school year, the Heiken Program received 17,000 school referrals of students needing eye care, and provided more than 11,000 dilated eye exams and glasses, when prescribed.

“Music Under the Stars is always a ‘don’t miss’ evening for an important cause,” said Virginia Jacko, Miami Lighthouse president and CEO. “This year our guests enjoyed a unique entertainment experience that demon-strated the ability of the visually impaired to achieve something extraordi-nary.”

The Great Train Robbery is an historic black-and-white silent film, originally shot in 1903 and based on an actual train robbery perpetrated by famed bandit Butch Cassidy. At 12 minutes, The Great Train Robbery is considered to be the first American action film, and was selected for preservation in the U.S. Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

The dramatic new musical score that debuted at Music Under the Stars was written by Miami Lighthouse instructor Oman Pedreira. The musicians and chorus, most of whom are blind or visually impaired, wore headsets to receive audio cues from Miami Lighthouse Music Program manager John Nichols, allowing them to transition seamlessly through the music and sound effects of the film.

In addition to the spectacular presentation of The Great Train Robbery, Music Under the Stars featured the dedication of the recently constructed Miami Lighthouse Children’s Learning Center’s Trish and Dan Bell East Terrace, named in honor of the prominent Miami philanthropic couple. The event also honored Lee R. Stern of Medegy Health Systems and Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation members for their support of the Heiken Children’s Vision Program.

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