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Students at Harwood Union High School are learning about sign language through song. Inspired by an episode of the popular show Glee, the Harwood High School Chorus will sing and sign John Lennon’s Imagine in their spring concert on June 7 at 7 p.m. in the Harwood auditorium.
Diane Phillips, Harwood’s choral teacher, partnered with Joan Pellerin, a community member and certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. Together, they created a video of Pellerin performing the song. Phillips then used the video in class as a model from which students learned to sign the lyrics. This week the students are enthusiastically rehearsing.
Phillips sees ASL as a beautiful way to perform music with the additional benefit of providing access to deaf people while raising awareness about deaf culture.
Students learned that American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language, with its own grammar, incorporating hand signs, facial expressions and body language. ASL is the primary method of communication used by deaf people in the United States.