Transcript: Following Flame

 Mary King: They told me I had a completely retarded young lady, that she wouldn’t be able to do anything. I told them they were crazy.

Larry Roberts: There are 60 million people with disabilities in the United States. It’s part and parcel of the human experience.

Michelle King: When I was three years old I was diagnosed with autism and the doctor told my mom I couldn’t speak. I wasn’t the real me.

Mary King: She was really not understood and they treated her, ya know, sometimes they would call her the r-word and I told her prove them wrong, show them who you really are.

Michelle King: Some students made fun of me because I wanted to be a musician.

Adrienne Phillips: Before I came to Lexington I had this talent and I had this dream of becoming a rockstar, I love music, I always have I taught myself how to sing. I took lessons on guitar. But after I graduated college, I literally was going no where.

Scott Stuart: I’ve had so many people shut my face into a door that I so frustrated and tired of it and fed up that I thought to myself, well there’s no future for me, I might as well give it up.

Larry Roberts: The way this country thinks about disability affects everybody with a disability. A lot of people with a disability have these ideas that they can’t do something.

George Spencer: These guys have the ability to do just about anything they want if they set their mind to it and work hard at it.

This past practice we worked on a new song. I gave it to them Wednesday, we practiced it Saturday….

[dialogue at rehearsal]

What happened to the bridge? We have to do the bridge.

Oh I forgot.

Real sharp ending Dave, no crash, just a stop.

We just gotta tighten it up, that’s on it a little bit.

You’re doing good Michelle

Everyone’s doing a great job I can tell you really listened to the recording.

George Spencer: And they nailed it by the end of the practice.

Falon McBride: It’s like a second family, we have our original family, and then we have each other as a family.

Maria Nestle: I’m their boss, I’m their advocate, I’m a friend, their mentor, I’m a role model to them.

Deb Phillips: This was Adrienne’s first experience with music..

As a parent, having a child with a disability is just mind-blowing. You don’t know where to start. When Adrienne was 9 months hold she started attending the Lighthouse for the Blind. I didn’t know what to give her. I didn’t give her stuffed animals, I didn’t give her anything like that because she couldn’t see it. The only things I gave her were musical related because I knew she could hear it but couldn’t touch it. And we started to do some job searching and there was just nothing, dead in the water and my biggest fear became reality. What is she going to do now that she’s 22 years old and there’s no where for her to go?

Larry Roberts: If you look at the unemployment rate it hasn’t significantly shifted since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act and eve though it’s illegal to discriminate against somebody with a disability, that kind of stuff is really difficult to prove. Why isn’t there enough that there’s these laws in place? There’s still a lot of attitudinal barriers.

Maria Nestle: You get a phone call, you’ve never heard them perform and somebody says I have 10 people with developmental disabilities can we come in your studio to record? They’re like sure, whatever you need we’ll give you here we recorded it, we threw it on a CD, here you go. Most recording artists don’t track once and have it just thrown together. We wanted them taken seriously as artists, because that’s what they are: they’re awesome musicians, who happen to have disabilities.

Mary King:…Swimming, dancing, on the subway…oh with the guitar, don’t let you forget your guitar. She couldn’t play then, she carried it because she liked Boy George. I always knew she could sing because she was humming from birth.

My heart feels very good when I hear her and when I first heard her.  It’s still the same..sometimes it makes me cry. I hope that the Flame lasts a long time, because it’s really good for her.

Paul Zuckerwar: I’m ready….to rock.

Michelle King: I never get stage fright.

Maria Nestle: When you get to a performance and you see the joy on their faces, the joy of the audience, their family members, their friends…that’s why I do what I do.

Adrienne Phillips: We want to inspire people through our music, through our lives. If we can do that, that’s our goal. … it’s to inspire people that just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t do what you can do, ya know? Everybody has limitations, whether it’s a disability or whatever, everybody’s got them. Just don’t let them stop you, just keep going because music can change people’s lives.

Michelle King: Music is my favorite thing, it’s my hobby and that’s my life.

We’re going to do this last song, but we’ll do your encore.

Scott Stuart: I got three things…the will to survive, the will to overcome things and the will to say I’m in band.

How’d you like that?

I never gave up on my dream, I never did.

Larry Roberts: The lives with people with disabilities are absolutely ordinary. And until we come to a place where we understand that disability is part of human life and an aspect of diversity and we really understand that, it’s going to be difficult.

Mary King: It’s not the disability all the time, you have to look at them. Find out what they know, listen to them not just judge by what you see…because all the time it’s not just what you see and I think Flame has proved that.


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