Most Eastern Delaware County folks are familiar with the sign language choir Hands of Harmony. Started in 2003 by Jennifer Lieurance, The choir has entertained audiences locally in Sunbury, Delaware and Westerville; they’ve even performed at the Ohio State Fair.
Not bad for a small group of local enthusiasts who gather to rehearse on their own and in their spare time for no compensation but the love of what they are doing.
But compensation comes in different forms, like being noticed; and recently Hands of Harmony has been noticed in a big way.
The group has a Facebook page and Lieurance recently got a call from an America’s Got Talent producer who found Hands of Harmony on the social networking website. The producer said he was impressed, that Hands of Harmony had something good going on, and asked for a 60-second audition video.
Hands of Harmony members gathered for about 10 rehearsals during the weeks leading up to last Saturday’s audition video recording session. On the video they performed Toby Mac’s Eye On It.
Lieurance said Hands of Harmony Choir uses a mixture of English and American Sign Language to communicate through the art of signing.
“This unique language conveys to the audience the visual translation of songs selected for the performance,” Lieurance said. “It’s been our wish to share the beauty of sign language with those that may not have experienced how the spoken word can be translated by this expressive hand signing.”
Lieurance said the choir consists of local area volunteer members; that each year returning members welcome newcomers into the choir.
“There are no requirements of prior experience or knowledge of sign language,” Lieurance said. “Our group consists of adults and children. Many rehearsals and the use of CDs and DVDs helps all members learn signing for the selected songs.”
The Hands of Harmony America’s Got Talent video participants are Essie Bicking, Jamie Boudinot, Victoria, Faith and Clara Chester, Jane Davis, Debra Rigsby, Janis, Christy and Emily Cornelius, Paula Schaefer, Heather Smith, Michelle and Hannah Dearth, Marcie and Ella Mohusen, Laura Lee and Caleb Jingo, Anissa and Adriana Knickerbocker, and Jennifer Lieurance.
Hands of Harmony directors and committee members are Choir Director Jennifer Lieurance, Choir Co-Director Anissa Knickerbocker, Treasurer Rene’ DeMint, Event Coordinator Doris Russell, and committee members Angela O’Brien and Michelle Dearth.
What else is coming up for Hands of Harmony? The choir is preparing a short video for the Central Ohio Symphony — a snippet of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
Lieurance said each year’s Hands of Harmony program is different and the choir performs at many different locations.
“Everyone can learn our programs, and we always welcome new members,” Lieurance said.
To see more of Hands of Harmony on Facebook search for Hands of Harmony Sunbury; on YouTube search for Hands of Harmony Choir Sunbury, Ohio.