Open doors

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Open doors

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I am hard of hearing but I also have a chronic illness and a physical disability. For years I, and others like me, have asked to do more work from home and use video chat. We were told it’s too hard and expensive. Then COVID19 became a pandemic and all of a sudden our request wasn’t so hard or expensive anymore. All of a sudden we all had the same need. It was exciting as doors opened up for me that were always closed. I attended conferences I’d always dreamed of attending. Not only that, but since I was used to teaching music online already, my fellow music teachers gleaned the info from my lived experience. For the first time I was an equal. My answers for things came from resources they would never have thought worthy of consideration. With my fellow artists also now unemployed, I had everything necessary to start my dream business. A inclusive production group. Now when society uses the word inclusive or accessible, they don’t bother learning what this entails so they are mostly seriously lacking. My group represents, every body type, age, gender, ability, and voice type. No longer will anyone be stereotyped. When I sing for people, they say they could listen to me sing often. Yet I’m never considered for shows, wheelchair aside, due to me being a mezzo soprano. Producers want lyrics. The same voice type for every lead role. Not in my group. I write my own musicals in a way everyone gets a change to take centre stage. Now that my fellow artists are back working again, those who I hired 2020 are still with me. I am very grateful the doors of opportunity opened even if for a short time because that was enough to keep them open for me where needed. That was enough to gather those who can make and keep this dream a reality. We are set to debut our first show in June 2021. It doesn’t get better than that. So while COVID itself is horrendous, the lifestyle the pandemic made universal helped others see what we live daily, and it also created a more universal work place for all.

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This item was submitted on April 5, 2021 by Sarah Styles using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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