Blind singer/songwriter an inspiration, Durango Herald, July 1, 2008

Sarah Michelle Getto, a blind singer/songwriter who also has a cleft palette, will perform twice in Bayfield over the Fourth of July weekend.

Born blind and with a cleft palette, young singer/songwriter Sarah Michelle Getto hasn’t let anything hold her back.

A summa cum laude graduate with a degree in music from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2007, Getto plans to become a music teacher, but first, she’s taking two or three years off to travel the country performing country, operatic and Christian music.

“I’m going to do this, then I’m probably going to settle down and teach music,” Getto said by telephone Thursday. “Or I might keep doing it. It all depends upon what God has in store for me.”

This year, Getto will visit 22 states performing at RV parks and resorts, churches, retirement homes and country-music festivals. Sheri Dougherty at Vallecito Resort said Getto bought herself a Tioga recreational vehicle, even though she can’t drive it. Her father drives, but Getto makes the payments.

Getto’s beautiful voice won her a First in State at the National Association of Teachers of Singers competition, for which Getto credits her vocal coach. Getto is also a songwriter, and her dance tune “Soak It” was awarded third place in the 2006 Billboard Magazine World Songwriting Competition. Not bad for someone who’s only 23.

For Getto, music is her ministry, and she wants to promote music to other blind students. Whether she teaches music or becomes a music therapist, music will always be a part of her life and the creative vehicle through which she can reach out to others.

Inspired by her own music educators, Getto wants to pass along her passion for music. She taught herself to play piano at age 3 and violin at age 10. She also plays guitar, bass and auto harp.

“Music has given me a sense of joy and happiness and a sense of accomplishment. I can show people that just because I’m blind doesn’t mean I can’t do anything,” Getto said. “What I want to do in music is continue to inspire people.”

Getto will perform at the Vallecito Resort Dance Hall at 3 p.m. July 4.

Her show features the music of Patsy Cline, Reba McIntire, Anne Murray and Allison Krauss, and perhaps an a cappella version of an operatic aria or a Christian hymn.

If you go

Sarah Michelle Getto will sing and play guitar at 3 p.m. Friday at Vallecito Resort Dance Hall in Bayfield, 884-9458 and at 7 p.m. Saturday at Blue Spruce Resort, Bayfield.

artsjournalist@mac.com Leanne Goebel is a freelance writer specializing in the arts.

This story originally appeared in The Durango Herald

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