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Percussionist Beats Her Own Drum for Deaf Children

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RALEIGH — Beethoven was deaf but magical with the ivory keys because he felt the music. Now a modern-day musician brings a similar story of inspiration to some local students.

The sound of the vibraphone is alive and crystal clear, except to the person playing it.

World-renowned percussionist Evelyn Glennie is profoundly deaf and has been since the age of 12, when she decided that would not stand in the way of her love of music.

"It was just something that I did without questioning it," she says. "I just did it, and I had to do it, and I wanted to do it."

Glennie says she is able to hear certain sounds, but relies on her other senses to make up for her lack of hearing. She watches the conductor, uses her imagination and feels the vibrations of the instruments, which is why she is barefoot during all of her performances.

"It does help," she says. "It's an aid. You don't rely on it, but it is an aid, and you definitely miss it when you are wearing shoes."

Evelyn Glennie will perform with theNorth Carolina SymphonySaturday night at 8:00 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium.

Friday's rehearsal with the Symphony was special because Glennie invited deaf students fromA.B. Combs Elementary Schoolto take part.

The students sat on stage and felt the music in their own way. "It feels like a ball was bouncing, a real hard ball," says student Jacinda Dowdy.

Glennie says she enjoys spending time with deaf children and sharing her talents. She also encourages them to fine tune any skill they want.

Tickets are still available to Glennie's concert with the Symphony. For more information, call Ticketmaster at(919) 834-4000.