Dallas Morning News
January 11, 1999. p. 3C
Life of Deaf Percussionist Glennie Perfectly Suited to Dramatization
KIDS' VIDEOS by Nancy Churnin

The story of Scottish-born Evelyn Glennie, a deaf solo-percussionist, is, like that of Helen Keller, an inspired one for dramatization.

The San Francisco-based Globalstage, which is quickly making a name for itself as a video distributor of high-quality theatrical performances around the world, offers a fascinating look at her life as written by Charles Way for the Polka Children's Theatre of Wimbledon.

Playing From the Heart, aimed for older children, stays focused on Ms. Glennie's journey from an idyllic childhood in a musical family to her onset of deafness at age 8 to her ultimate realization of a dream to be a musician against the odds. But while she has tussles with those who try to discourage her along the way, the show plays more like a monologue with supporting voices; it simmers and inspires, but quietly. It lacks the fierce energy that comes from Helen's struggles with her teacher Annie Sullivan, in The Miracle Worker.

Still what the story misses in theatrics, it makes up for in the wonder of its contemporary reality. Ms. Glennie, a Grammy Award-winning, internationally renowned concert performer, became what she said she would be: the first full-time solo percussionist in the world, performing more than 100 concerts in more than 20 countries per year.

Children captivated by Ms. Glennie's story can see the 33-year old musician in person when she comes to Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth Oct. 19 to perform with the Kings' Singers.

Equally inspiring is Ms. Glennie's commitment to help other deaf or hard-of-hearing children to pursue musical instruments. This year she chose the finalists for the first Evelyn Glennie National Scholarship Awards instituted by the Children's Hearing Institute, awarding the winners $2,000 scholarships to pursue their studies.

She explains on her Web site (www.evelyn.co.uk) how she learned to play, referring to herself in the third person:

"She would stand with her hands against the classroom wall while Ron (her teacher) played notes on the timpani. Eventually Evelyn managed to distinguish the rough pitch of notes by associating where on her body she felt the sound with the sense of perfect pitch she had before losing her hearing."

Also on the video, after the play, Ms. Glennie appears in an interview answering questions about her life.