Sidmouth signer aids enjoyment of Val's singing

PUBLISHED: 10:26 24 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 18 June 2010

SOPRANO Val Howels songs will have an added dimension at a Sidmouth concert next month. Vicky Barrett, 26, will sign her songs for the deaf and hard of hearing, in A Note to Remember at Manor Pavilion Theatre, on Thursday, November 19.

SOPRANO Val Howels' songs will have an added dimension at a Sidmouth concert next month.

Vicky Barrett, 26, will sign her songs for the deaf and hard of hearing, in A Note to Remember at Manor Pavilion Theatre, on Thursday, November 19.

It will be the third time Vicky, from Manstone Avenue, has signed during concerts featuring Val.

She said: "Val roped me in and I thought I would give it a go. People enjoy signing, even those who can hear, because sign language is very visual."

The former Sidmouth College student works as a teaching assistant at the Royal Academy for Deaf Education, Exeter, and has British Sign Language Level Two and Three qualifications.

"I started learning signing four years ago at evening class. It was something I had seen growing up and thought it looked interesting.

"Within two weeks I was enjoying learning it and took it to the next level."

She has been at the college for 10 months, after returning home from travelling around New Zealand, and says: "It is a fantastic job, the curriculum is so varied and you get to support the students in all activities, from maths and English to confidence building exercises [such as abseiling, rock climbing and canoeing] and independence skills."

Vicky was hooked by signing because it is so fascinating and beautiful to watch.

"Words have to be changed in order to keep the correct meaning. Sign language is very visual, you put a lot of emotions and use the whole of your body to express something," she said.

Of humorous songs, such as Val's version of My Favourite Things from Sound of Music, Vicky says: "Val has given me lyrics and I work out how to sign them, then we get together a couple of times to see how it paces out and if it works visually."

Sidmouth Town Band will head the bill, playing many of Gordon Langford's compositions.

A world-renowned composer, Gordon lives in Seaton and every brass band in the country plays his music, including Sidmouth's band, who will include some of their favourite numbers, All Through the Night and The Lost Chord, in the concert.

Tickets are £9 each from the theatre box office (01395) 514513.

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