img_1168-2Melodic Connections is a community music studio that is home to students of all abilities.  Here, students develop existing talents, challenge themselves to learn something completely new and spend time with others who share their interests and passions.  Some individuals, like Quincy, come to us with already developed musical abilities.  Quincy is visually impaired but can tell if a sound is even slightly off pitch.  He can hear a song and play it back to you on the piano. He can listen and improvise a drum beat on the spot.

Quincy also has dreams and aspirations beyond his musical talents.  He loves asking questions and recording people’s answers.  He knows all the parts of a microphone and dreams of being an announcer some day.

Quincy’s Mom hopes that these abilities will lead to opportunities for Quincy in the community, and possibly even lead to a vocation. “If he were any other person” his mom said, “he could pursue a job that fulfills his dreams.  He could study what he likes, and do what he likes, and make a living at it.”  Quincy’s mom desperately wants to hold on to the things Quincy cares about.

That’s why his Mom enrolled Quincy in three of Melodic Connections’ service learning programs in the community — to immerse him in opportunities that will nurture his abilities and open doors that are in line with his dreams and aspirations.  At Melodic Connections, Quincy volunteers at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on Mondays, learns vocational skills at Willis Music on Tuesdays and participates in our podcast project on Thursdays. And in between, he is an awesome drummer and performs in our concerts once a month.

“I view his experience at Melodic Connections as his ‘college’,” his mom says.  These programs, she says, are providing opportunities that others take for granted, and are Quincy’s doorway to the life he wants to lead.

Recently, Quincy added something else to his resume — performing as a professional musician.  At a Melodic Connections benefit concert, local musician Joanie Whittaker  recognized Quincy’s talents. After working with him on stage, she invited him to accompany her on drums in a concert out in the community.

Quincy and Joanie debuted their duo at The College Hill Pumpkin Festival in the fall of 2016, where Quincy participated not as an individual with a disability, but as a fantastic drummer joining a fellow musician on stage.   “Quincy was an absolute professional,” Joanie said about the event. “We sounded great together!  I look forward to playing with him again. Future gigs are in the stars.”

Through his hard work and dedication, Quincy has made the connection to drumming gigs in the community.  His voice will also soon be heard on Melodic Connections’ podcast series “Hero Radio.  Stories Beyond the Music”.  With the right supports, he is on his way to turning his talents and dreams into a vocation.