Randy Rutherford was the featured presenter at the CHHA National Conference in May 2009 in St. John’s Newfoundland. He performed Singing at the Edge of the World, an entertaining perspective on what it means to lose your hearing.
Originally from a small town in the United States, he now travels widely throughout the US and Canada as a performer, song writer and entertainer, some of his many creative talents. Randy has a progressive congenital hearing loss which is now severe. With the use of digital hearing aids he learned to sing, play guitar and entertain, and delights audiences across the country.
At the Fringe Festival in Winnipeg in July 2009 Randy performed the Weaverville Waltz. He is an inspiring storyteller who connects with his audience through the dramatization of incidents in his life. As you watch and follow his expressions, his thoughts, his songs, and his emotions, he draws the audience into the scenes of his life, evoking the fear, challenges, disappointments, triumphs, loneliness and love inherent in each situation. His stories are inspiring, hilarious, and moving.
Randy’s Fringe Festival performance was particularly inspirational for those of us who share the effects of hearing loss. He once gave up music and performing because of his progressive hearing loss, but returned to it because of his love of writing and the stage. His message, told through song and dramatization, is that we can survive life’s challenges, savor the best moments, and learn from them. His hearing loss, by its very absence from mention in the performance, was reduced to the same level as any other difficulty in life. We can learn and grow from it, or we can succumb to it.
Without the captioning, provided at no charge by Cecilia Reid of WordVision Captioning and CART Services, I would not have been able to enjoy this performance. Instead of lamenting the lack of access to the arts, together we can work toward making other performances accessible for the hard of hearing.
By Betty Anderson