A University of New Orleans choir for the blind or visually impaired performed recently for the first time on the campus in the Oliver St. Pé Center.
Though they don’t read music, the eight- to 10-person group was able to play complex musical pieces through the use of new technology provided to them by ARBECY – a company founded by former New Orleans resident Jerome Simon. Small cell phones made buzzing sounds when it was time for each member of the group to chime their bells.
Rose Angelocci, a rehab training specialist at University of New Orleans Training, Resource and Assistive-Technology Center who is also visually impaired, said that the bell choir has positive therapeutic benefits for those willing to try it. The students get to experience the art of collaboration and performing the music itself can be stimulating.
“Musical experience is not necessary,” Angelocci said. “You just have to be good at reacting.”
Simon is still refining the tool he started building as far back as the 1970s, when he was a graduate student at Loyola University of New Orleans. Angelocci hopes to eventually incorporate the bell choir training permanently.