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ETHAN'S SONG (signed) - Mother sings/signs to her deaf son

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Published on Aug 30, 2012

If you would like to follow me on twitter - @kat_mount

If you would like to view Ethan's Song in other modes:
Sung - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dxe9NZ...
Sung and subtitled - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I12Xx...
Signed and subtitled - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkysFV...

90% of deaf children are born into hearing families, the majority of which, just like mine, have little or no experience of deafness. This confuses our expectations for our children, we have to re-evaluate our visions of their future when it comes very fundamental things like communication and schooling. Many of us, myself included, also mistakenly re-evaluate other areas of our lives.

As a singer I had always imagined filling my child's life with music, singing to them, teaching them to express themselves musically, sharing my passion. When Ethan was born instead I just stopped. I stopped playing music in the house (partly because I was told we should have a quiet environment to encourage listening skills, but also because it was too painful to think he couldn't hear it and I felt horribly selfish), and I stopped singing altogether. I walked out on the choir I had been with and I stopped performing. I never sang to Ethan as a baby.

It took me five years to realise that he could love music, and love it just as much as me.

Ethan joined a choir himself - the amazing Kaos Signing Choir who have recently performed at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics as well as welcoming the Paralympians at St Pancras Station, and singing/signing in St Paul's Cathedral for the service for the opening of the Paralympics. I am SO proud of him. He feels music in ways that I will never understand, he is full of it. I cannot wait to continue on this journey of discovery with him. We do share a passion for music.

Ethan's Song was written for me by Helen Goldwyn, a good friend and fellow singer, who along with Christina Fry and me, make up the trio Ladies GoDiva. After Ethan came to watch an LGD performance one night, Helen wrote this beautiful song. As a singer she was able to understand and capture the raw emotion and curiosity I feel when I think about Ethan's love of music.

Stephen Bentley-Klein is a man of extraordinary talent and experience who has co-produced and arranged Ethan's Song and all my church music. He has a profoundly deaf daughter, Charlotte: a wonderful friend to both Ethan and me. Steve has recently composed a multi-sensory opera (I was lucky enough to be a part of it) that had a very successful debut at the Tete a Tete Festival. It explores the life of deafened astronomer, Annie Jump Cannon, who catalogued thousands of stars and was the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Oxford University. Throughout the piece we signed as we sang, the inspiration being taken from Ethan's Song. There were physical ways to experience the music - holding speakers to your chest, watching the sound make waves in water and milk, feeling it through the floor, and there were captions. There was also an exploration of the sound itself, using technology to create a fascinating soundscape that imitated the sensation of losing your hearing. Charlotte performed with us, as did severely deaf opera singer Janine Roebuck, whose input during the rehearsal process shaped the piece significantly. The opera is now to be expanded and will include some exciting new research whilst remaining fully deaf accessible. The opera was performed live on BBC Radio 3' In Tune programme and is soon to be featured on BBC's See Hear.

My thanks to the wonderful Mark Smith for his input and collaboration on the style of signing used within Ethan's Song. Although I had been signing and singing for some time he really brought to life for me the musicality and dance-like expression that BSL can have. Mark is himself deaf and is Founder and Artistic Director of the group Deaf Men Dancing. As a choreographer he is currently busy working on the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics.

Thank you for watching.

Katherine x

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