Jingle Bells in Braille: lyrics translated so visually-impaired couple can sing
OTTAWA -- Part of the excitement of this Christmas season is singing Christmas songs.
It's something Marsha Gilchrist and her husband Butch love to do with the Perley-Rideau Choir.
But it comes with an added challenge for them; they're both visually impaired.
So, the choir's director found a fix so they could follow along in the music books.
Marsha Gilchrist has been blind since birth.
“They gave me too much oxygen and damaged my optic nerves,” she explains, “I’ve been totally blind since I was born.”
But she's never let that slow her down, especially when it comes to singing, something she's been doing since she was 3.
“It makes me happy,” says Gilchrist, “I feel I'm helping other people who can't sing.”
A couple years ago, she joined the choir at the Perley-Rideau Veterans' Health Centre, alongside her husband Butch, who is also visually impaired. The couple lives in the apartments at the Perley-Rideau.
“I think it’s fantastic,” says Butch, about his wife singing with him.
And it is fantastic but challenging, too, when you can't read the lyrics.
“Marsha is a great singer,” says Trudy Letourneau, the choir director with the Perley-Rideau Choir, “She has a great voice. So the more she can sing all the words, the more helpful it is for the choir.”
So, Trudy reached out to the CNIB which responded to the challenge and translated all Marsha's songs into Braille.
“Every time we have a concert,” continues Letourneau, “I send them the lyrics and within a week and half, she gets all the lyrics in Braille at her home.”
So, Marsha never misses a beat now as she takes her place front and centre of the choir, belting out Christmas carols with a smile on her face.
“I just really enjoy it,” says Marsha, “It makes me smile when I sing.”