Hastings sign language choir embraced new language, holiday spirit
HASTINGS, Neb. — A Hastings non-profit is hoping to make music as inclusive as possible.
The Hastings Music Academy hosted a sign language choir class this winter. Cindy Koch and Brittany Henderson combined to teach the class. Koch is mostly deaf and Henderson works as a sign language interpreter.
“She has all of the deaf culture experience and everything. I can hear along to the music a little bit better," Henderson said. "Her and I together - I interpret for her with the group.”
Nobody in the class was deaf, but participants like Dana Miller were eager to learn to sing through signing.
“It’s almost like dance in a way. (It’s) like a movement to the songs,” Miller said.
Henderson says the class is perfect for people who love music, but don’t love to sing.
“It’s a way for people who don’t like to sing to still be involved with performing but also include just another language and learning something else,” Henderson said.
“They’re so fascinated by sign language,” Koch said.
The class met for about a month and performed at the Hastings Celebration of Lights. Henderson says the class caught on pretty fast.
“When they start to learn it, they’re very stiff like a board," Henderson said. "Throughout the weeks, they get movements in and those facial expressions, which are huge in signing.”
For Miller, it was more about the education than the performance.
“(Deaf people) are able to communicate way more efficiently than we can," Miller said. "That’s been really eye-opening.”
Henderson and Koch hope to lead more sign language singing courses in the summer and next winter.
“Learning signing is so amazing, it’s so much fun,” Henderson said.
“You will love it when you learn it,” Koch said.