When Mandy Harvey walked onto the stage at Opperman Music Hall, most of the elementary and middle school students clapped to welcome her. But some students raised their hands, spread their fingers and shook their hands back and forth — the American Sign Language symbol for applause.
The musician, who is deaf, performed for about 50 students on Friday from W.T. Moore Elementary School, Swift Creek Middle School and Florida State University. The event is part of Opening Nights in School, which pairs performers and schools.
The 30-year-old showed students how they could feel the sound music makes, a trick she uses herself. Students were given balloons to blow up. She told them to feel it while a neighbor talked or hold it to their ear to hear the amplified sounds.
When Harvey strummed on her ukelele, barefoot so she could feel the vibrations in the floor, students’ mouths dropped. They turned to their friends smiling. They could feel the buzz as Harvey sang and played.
“I even found myself sitting out there closing my eyes so that I could experience it without thinking about what was going on but just paying attention to the sounds,” said W.T. Moore Principal Kerri Anderson. “It was amazing.”
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