Spirit of Life Ensemble Celebrates “Beach Day” at St. Joseph’s School for the Blind

Jersey City, NJ Jersey City native, Daoud-David Williams and his Spirit of Life Ensemble sailed into St. Joseph’s School for the Blind on July 31st to celebrate a beach party theme day for the students. 

The band’s rousing energy and distinctive jazz sounds brought out the sun and the smiles as students and staff danced and swayed to the lively music.

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Mr. Williams and his band members have made several appearances at the school and generously donate their time and artistry so students have the opportunity to experience a live music performance.  The eclectic Ensemble blends a multi-cultural mix of professional musicians who fuse jazz with Latin, Caribbean, African, blues, funk and gospel rhythms to create a smooth and exciting sound.  The collective experience of the band members includes performances and recordings with top jazz icons like the Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Lionel Hampton orchestras.   According to St. Joseph’s Music Director, James Skitka, “The Spirit of Life Ensemble gives our children the opportunity to hear instruments that they wouldn’t ordinarily hear, especially the brass section.  In today’s popular music, many of these instruments are not used and children are unfamiliar with their sound.  Since our students are blind and visually impaired, there is also a tangible difference when they hear instruments live as opposed to a recording.”

 

As a friend of St. Joseph’s, Mr. Williams has come to know the teachers and students and understands the special needs of children who are blind, visually impaired and have additional disabilities.  To better involve them in the experience, he shares a selection of maracas, shakes and other small hand-made instruments so the children can play along with the band.  “One of our greatest joys is to play at St. Joseph’s.  All the band members get excited because we know the power of the music; it is harmonious, soothing and has healing elements.  Music brings people together,” Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Williams, a professional multi-percussionist, formed the group in 1975 and continues to lead and play with the Ensemble today.  The Ensemble receives funding through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Community Development Block Grants and is a vibrant part of the Community Awareness Series of the Jersey City Free Public Library.  To learn more about the Ensemble visit www.spiritoflifeensemble.com

To learn more about St. Joseph’s School for the Blind contact Ellen M. Felicetta, Director of Development (201) 876-5432 x 113, email

efelicetta@sjsnj.org  or visit our website at www.sjsnj.org   

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