INSIGHTFUL VISIONARIES PRESENTS
THE 2018 NATIONAL BLIND IDOL SEMI-FINALS
June 16, 2018
The National Blind Idol Competition is a yearly event that means so much to a large community, the blind and visually impaired. Blind Idol is a national singing competition that celebrates the musical talents of individuals who are legally blind, representing a broad range of music genre. Blind Idol is a national singing competition that celebrates the musical talents of Americans who are legally blind.
Contestants are competing for a chance to win not only bragging rights, but the winner will receive a prize package that includes $2,000 cash, recording studio time and head shots. We want to thank the Claire Culbreth Foundation for adding $2000 cash prize honoring the memory of Claire Culbreth one of last year’s contestants. Our deepest condolences to her family. Insightful Visionaries has arranged for an additional award to the 2018 Blind Idol winner, a one-year subscription to AIRA.
Insightful Visionaries, will also host the 2018 Blind Idol 4th Annual Semi-Finals, in Durham at the historic Carolina Theater on June 16. Approximately 600 people are expected to attend. Contestants come from all on the country to compete, hoping to move on the 2018 Finals hosted by IFB Solutions in Winston-Salem, NC. The 2016 Winner Charity Hampton, of Rural Hall, NC and 2017 Winner, Jordan Scheffer, of Asheville, NC. will perform as special guests.
SHOWTIME 6PM – 8PM
The 2018 featured artist is NOVACAIN, a.k.a. “The Blind Rapper”, and National recording artist from the Braille Music tour. Braille Music is a movement based around clean hip hop that inspires people to break through stereotypes and overcome adversity. Determined to share his message around the world, Nova says, “No matter what obstacles you may face, you can overcome anything with belief and hard work. At the age of 18, I lost my sight due to being over medicated by a doctor. Shortly after that, I lost both of my parents. I was confused and questioned God’s motives. I had hit a low point in my life. My brother encouraged me to tell my story through music. He said, “Get it off your chest and let everyone know what you’re going through.” So that’s what i did. and since then, I haven’t stopped.”
Insightful Visionaries, founded by Carolyn Marshall Covington, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to facilitate the independence of the blind and visually impaired community. The organization host events, activities, workshops and resources to assist the blind and visually impaired community with maintaining an independent lifestyle and participation in the mainstream community. In this case, we provide an opportunity to showcase
their singing talents.
DOWNLOAD THE 2018 BLIND IDOL PRESS KIT
PURCHASE TICKETS AT THE CAROLINA THEATER BOX OFFICE
309 W Morgan St, Durham, NC 27701 OR TICKETMASTER
BEHIND THE VISION
In 2000, Carolyn Covington was diagnosed with a devastating degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). For over 30 years prior, she had been busy building a successful enterprise in the beauty industry. Persons with RP have no night vision and very limited sight in dimly lit places. Their peripheral vision is greatly restricted, and eventually, may become completely blind. Carolyn was determined to push forward. For the next 14 years (basically living in denial), she finally reached a point where accepting her prospects for the future became a reality. Finally, in 2015, Carolyn closed her last spa and chose to deal with her diminishing eye sight. Self-discovery soon revealed what God’s next plan for her life would be. In time, Carolyn’s new challenges were revealed as opportunities to share her experiences for the benefit of others. It would lead her to recognize the revelations as Divine intervention that would inspire her to create Insightful Visionaries.
From inception, Insightful Visionaries has been on a mission to provide the blind/visually impaired community with a broad range of resources that are convenient, accessible, and enhance their lifestyle. Through donations and community support, Carolyn’s vision for the 4 Senses Wellness Center, which will offer a wide variety of comprehensive programs and approach to inclusive, healthier and more functional living.
Blind Idol hopefuls are visually impaired but overflowing with musical talent
Two distinct crowds converged in front of the Renaissance Raleigh hotel at North Hills on Saturday evening. The group in sweats, yoga britches and tank tops was on its way to get a good workout in the nearby gym.So was the other group, the one with people in suits, dresses and gowns. They just didn’t know it yet. Instead of exercising in a gym, though – up and down, up and down – they were exercising in the hotel ballroom, where the semifinals of the National Blind Idol singing competition were being held. After about the 10th standing ovation – that’s when I stopped counting – the people inside the hotel ballroom probably wondered whether they’d wandered into the right place.
They were in the right place, all right. The 15 contestants from six states were all deserving of accolades, as were the special guests who performed – winners from the previous two years’ competition and Matthew Whitaker, a 16-year-old masterful musician who flew in from New Jersey.
Ellen DeGeneres, through the magic of video, “introduced” Matthew. He’d appeared on her show and performed in April, and on Saturday he performed three original pieces on the Renaissance ballroom stage. If you don’t know who Matthew Whitaker is, you should. You will.
I tried to avoid referring to him as a prodigy – so hackneyed, so cliched – but Matthew is a bona fide one. The dude puts one in the mind of a young Stevie Wonder, and not just because they’re both sightless. He has the same confidence and mastery of the piano – he’s been playing since he was 3, when his grandfather gave him a keyboard – and he even looks like young Stevie.
I’ll tell you what: If he’d started singing “My Cherie Amour,” I’d have had to run out of the joint.
He was, in a word, superb.
“Superb” also describes the fearless competitors vying to go to the Blind Idol finals in Winston-Salem on Aug. 12. They, along with their families and supporters, came from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Nevada and Utah, in addition to North Carolina
The Blind Idol competition began modestly in 2015 when two employees of Winston-Salem’s Industries for the Blind – Anastasia Powell and Chris Flynt – came up with the idea for a competition for other blind individuals who possess musical talent. The winner receives, among other things, $1,000 and eight hours of studio time. Monica Barrette, a friend and formerly a local hairstylist who now does ’dos on Broadway, returned to work with cosmetology students at the Paul Mitchell School, who helped beautify some of the contestants. “We did her hair,” Barrette said proudly each time a singer sporting the school’s handiwork appeared onstage. AT NATIONAL BLIND IDOL, I’M PLEASED TO REPORT, THERE ARE NO GRATUITOUSLY SNARKY JUDGES LIKE THOSE ON THE TV SHOW ‘AMERICAN IDOL,’ WHO SEEM TO GET THEIR KICKS STOMPING ON A DREAM.
There was no dream-stomping Saturday night, which isn’t to imply there was no stomping. There was, but it was included in the deservedly raucous ovations. The response from the audience seemed to send the singers floating off the stage. When the last winner was announced, the 10 contestants who weren’t selected cheered just as wildly as everyone else for those who did. Tre’ Tailor, a former local radio personality now living in South Carolina, was one of the judges. She spoke after the show about how hard it was to select those who would go on to Winston-Salem. “At least we got to pick five” of the 15, Tailor told me. “I can’t even imagine how hard it would’ve been to pick just one.”
Neither can I. A hotel representative said there were about 325 people already inside to cheer on the singers when the show started Saturday, and workers scurried hither and yon shoehorning in more seats for late arrivals. If you weren’t among them, you missed a terrific workout – and show. How terrific? This terrific: It was only later, while driving home, that I thought about the contestants’ disability. As was everyone else there Saturday night, I was too focused on their abilities.
Experience the Blind Idol 2017 Semi-Finals
Insightful Visionaries hosted the 2017 Blind Idol 3rd Annual Semi-Final for IFB Solutions, held at the Raleigh Renaissance Hotel, North Hills in Raleigh, NC. The evening was compared to “American Idol. Contestant were cheered on by a standing room only crowd. The Special Guest artists who were invited to perform were selected from artists who would provide inspiration to aspiring talent and have achieved great success through determination, in spite of their own personal challenges. Guest performers included, the 2016 Winner, Shane Dittmar and 2017 Winner, Charity Hampton. Special Guest performer for 2017 was Matthew Whitaker, Internationally renowned Teen piano prodigy. A few weeks before the show Matthew attracted the attention of “Ellen DeGeneres Show” producers and Matthew’s story and talent was featured on the show.
The 2016 Blind Idol Winner Charity Hampton and 2017 Winner Jordan Scheffer. Both were recommended by 2017 Blind Idol Special Guest artist, Matthew Whitaker to perform on the Apollo Theater’s “Amateur Night at the Apollo” in 2018. Charity will appear on April 25, 2018. Jordan’s performance date is June 27, 2018.