Detroiter debuts first orchestral show for deaf and hard of hearing

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"I just wanted to be around music and to really have the opportunity to take it this far -- it still; blows my mind."

Sean Forbes is a talented hip hop artist, who's deaf but certainly not quiet.

He signed a deal with the same producers who discovered Eminem, then he co-founded DPAN, the Deaf Professional Arts Network. Now the visual entertainer, as he describes himself, is getting ready to put on a show first of its kind -- the Deaf and Loud Symphonic Experience.

It all started when Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who is also deaf, read about Sean's talent and reached out to him and composer Jake Bass.

"She was very familiar with Detroit and very familiar with the music here. We wanted to see what would happen and over the past 3 years it's really been a journey to get to this point," Sean said.

"How could we make this an orchestral show that is accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing community," Jeff said.

"When you have been in the profession for a long time you want to push your boundaries as well, you want to collaborate with people who ... you don't know what is going to happen and I felt this was an opportunity to do that as well," Evelyn said.

It's a musical mission to create a concert that is inclusive and accessible for the deaf community. Sean, Jake, Evelyn and America's Got Talent finalist Mandy Harvey, who is also deaf, will be performing for the first time with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on Sunday night.

"I'm really excited for a lot of the young kids that are coming. There's going to be so many deaf and hard of hearing kids that are going to be there on Sunday, so many older deaf and hard of hearing people who have never really, truly been able to enjoy to a concert experience -- let alone a symphonic concert experience," Sean said.

FOX 2 dropped in on a practice session at 54 Sound studios in Ferndale. Unlike other concerts, the lyrics will be displayed behind the artists, Sean will be signing and deaf musicians will be taking the stage. Evelyn performs without shoes, so she can hear the vibrations through her body. With every beat they are breaking new ground and breaking down stereotypes.
"People are breaking down boundaries, by thinking oh, if you are deaf can't hear therefore you can't enjoy music. That is not the case at all and I think this even will open people's minds in regards to other roots of digesting sound," Evelyn said.

"For me it is all about to achieve the impossible. This has never been done before, and it certainly has never been done on a scale like this so if somebody who is going through something challenging, or whether they're deaf and want to be a musician, and they don't know how to go about it ... having them see this and being able to accomplish something like this, our hope is that they'll be able to feel inspired to do whatever it is they dream of doing," Jake said.

As for Sean, his collaboration is proving hearing loss can't stand in the way of musical passion, hoping this show will help to inspire future generations.

"We could take this on the road. Maybe we'll perform this all over the world with this. I just want to keep making music and keep spreading the goal of accessibility," he said.