The Washington State School for the Blind Foundation and the School of Piano Technology for the Blind share a common goal and message: That blindness never has to mean helplessness.
That message will be heard loud and clear Friday when the two nonprofit organizations host 3 Grands, a fundraising event that will feature three blind but amazingly talented musicians.
All three pianists are former students at Washington State School for the Blind.
Nick Baker has been into music almost from the moment he was born. He has perfect pitch and almost instant recall. He earned a degree in musical performance and has earned honors in both classical voice and classic piano juries. His first CD, Think Positive, was released in June 2001. His newest release is This One’s for You, a collection of jazz standards.
Brent Gjerve, autistic and blind from birth, has been playing piano since he was four years old.
Mac Potts was born blind and began playing piano at the age of two, taking classical lessons at age four, and performing by age eight. Three years later he began recording music and when he was 12 began taking lessons from legendary Portland blues pianist D.K. Stewart. He was a guest artist at Michael Allen Harrison’s “Ten Grands” concert in 2011 and is scheduled to perform as one of the “Ten Grands” in 2012. He has played annually at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He was one of the featured artists at the Cincinnati Blues Festival. He has studied with Janice Scroggins and has played with Henry Butler, Charmaine Neville, Tom Grant and Harry Connick Jr.
Darcy Schmitt, guest vocalist for the event, is jazz choir director with the Battle Ground School District and has inspired many students over the years with her love of music and jazz in particular.
Educational achievement, independent living and rewarding employment – those are the goals of both Washington State School for the Blind and School of Piano Technology for the Blind. Graduates of the programs are exceptions in the blind and visually impaired community whose unemployment or underemployment rate exceeds 70 percent.
About the Event
Three Grands concert and auction
Feb. 24, 7 p.m.
Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. Fifth St., Vancouver
Hors d’oeuvres & no host bar
$30 per person