Singers with Disabilities

This quarter’s Voice of Chorus America has a nice, straightforward article on disabled singers and how choirs can accommodate them:

In 2007, Ella Merritt was feeling the itch to sing again”?so she began calling choruses. Her first question was not about the audition process or the concert season, but rather “Do you have accommodation for a wheelchair?”?

What’s really nice is that it’s featured on the cover.
magazine cover
The link to the article will only be available until this edition of the magazine is archived.



  1. Bonnie

    Well this got me to thinking. One of our choir members has Parkinson’s and they accommodate her. But we have two legally blind members of the congregation and I wonder if they could use the braille hymnals someone left behind. The last I saw of the hymnals they were on a shelf in the hallway.

  2. Katja

    Ask them. Or get the hymnals out, make sure the ushers know where they are, and have the pastor make an announcement that they are available to anyone who needs them. Keep in mind that most visually impaired people do not know Braille (about 12% of school age blind children use Braille as their primary reading medium), so large print hymnals might be a better investment.

    A key for churches is to make sure that everyone knows what resources are available and how to get to them – large print hymnals/prayer books/bibles/service bulletins, induction system headphones, elevators, stair lifts, etc should all be in an easily accessed and clearly marked location, and church leadership should regularly publicize their existence.

  3. stephen

    yeah, where is the american idol in a ‘chair? what’s up with that?

  4. fridawrites

    Have you heard about Ginny Owens, the singer who’s blind? Or the sign language that Sweet Honey in the Rock does at all performances? They’re on my list of people and issues I need to blog about.

  5. Katja

    Don’t know Ginny Owens, but I’m from Sweet Honey’s hometown, and have seen many of their interpreted performances. They consider their interpreter part of the ensemble.

  6. Myrna Clayton

    Is it possible to get a copy of the article emailed to I cannot find it online. We are seeking singers with amazing voices that have disabilities in Atlanta GA.

    1. Katja (Post author)

      Hi, Myrna – I did a search on Chorus America’s website and found this link to the archived article, which is available to members: With Access and Accommodation for All. I no longer have a membership, so I can’t get a copy for you. If you don’t want to join, you might want to either contact Chorus America directly or see if you can find an organization that already has a membership that would be willing to get a copy for you. As I recall (it was a long time ago!) the article was mostly about what choirs can do to accommodate disabled singers.

      If you’re looking for singers, one idea would be to place a notice on Choral Net. Since you’re looking for singers with disabilities specifically, another avenue would to be look for organizations that support people with disabilities and/or military veterans in your area. Good luck!


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