Blindness can’t hold singer back
by Sally Litchfield
MDJ Feature editor
sallylit@bellsouth.net
January 16, 2013 12:15 AM | 2322 views | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special to the MDJ
Singer Ken Medema, who is blind, will present his show at the 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. worship services and then in concert open to the public at 5 p.m. in the Marietta FUMC sanctuary. “My audience and I do this concert together,” said Medema, whose style is similar to Elton John and Billy Joel.  <br>Special to the MDJ
Special to the MDJ Singer Ken Medema, who is blind, will present his show at the 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. worship services and then in concert open to the public at 5 p.m. in the Marietta FUMC sanctuary. “My audience and I do this concert together,” said Medema, whose style is similar to Elton John and Billy Joel.
Special to the MDJ
slideshow
As a young child, Medema said he was lonely because he was limited in what he could do compared to other children. He started “banging on the piano” at 5 years old and began his formal training at age 8, learning with Braille music.
As a young child, Medema said he was lonely because he was limited in what he could do compared to other children. He started “banging on the piano” at 5 years old and began his formal training at age 8, learning with Braille music.
slideshow
Adult contemporary singer Ken Medema performs on Sunday at First United Methodist Church of Marietta. Blind from birth, Medema inspires through an interactive show of storytelling and music through brilliant improvisation.

Medema presents his show at the 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. worship services and then in concert, which is open to the public at 5 p.m. in the Marietta FUMC sanctuary, 56 Whitlock Ave. in Marietta.

“My audience and I do this concert together,” said Medema, whose style is similar to Elton John and Billy Joel.

Medema, whose sight is limited to light and dark perception and seeing fuzzy outlines, looks at his blindness as a characteristic rather than a handicap.

“People are always curious about what I will do. They’ll give me a listen when sometimes they won’t give other people a listen,” he said.

Music has always played an important role in Medema’s life. “The significant moments in my life are always reflected in music. They’re always surrounded in music. There’s always music that reminds me of significant moments or that I create to talk about significant moments. Without music I don’t know what I’d do,” he said.

“Music has really been very much a part of me,” said Medema, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

As a young child, Medema said he was lonely because he was limited in what he could do compared to other children. He started “banging on the piano” at 5 years old and began his formal training at age 8, learning with Braille music.

“Music was my friend, my companion. I loved it,” he said.

In high school, music was Medema’s ticket to finding friends.

“Being in the choir was the place I really found connections with people,” he said.

Music proved more and more important in his life.

“In college, music became my obsession,” said Medema, who studied music therapy at Michigan State University concentrating on performance skills in piano and voice. After working as a music therapist, he earned a master’s degree in 1969 from MSU and returned to the music therapy field. During this time, he began writing and performing his own songs including those about his Christian life.

In 1973, Medema started his full-time career as a performing and recording artist. In 1985, he founded his own recording company, Brier Patch Music. For four decades, he has entertained around the world reaching audiences of 50 to 50,000.

Visit kenmedema.com to learn more about the artist. Visit mariettafumc.org to learn more about Marietta FUMC.
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Linda Moore-Connor
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January 16, 2013
Great article in today's MDJ - looking forward to Sunday at Marietta FUMC!
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