Monday, September 12, 2011

"For Once in My Life" examines a Florida band of people with disabilities (PBS POV)

"For Once in My Life", is a film available through PBS POV, about  The Spirit of Goodwill Band, a music ensemble  in south Florida composed of a group of musicians with varying mental and physical disabilities. 

The film is directed by Jim Bigham and Mike Moormann.

The members tell their widely varied stories.  At one point, a special education teacher tells a class that about a third have disabilities that one can’t see and that “can’t be helped”.  He mentions depression as a disability and encourages the audience to make an effort to reach out to them. 

In another scene, a special education teacher helps a trombone player, but reminds him that effort in music has helped keep him from being suspended.  A supervisor similarly counsels a young adult at work. But the group is rehearsing for a show – the film counts down the days – and the loss of people to suspensions could hurt the group. The students seem to get that.

But other scenes come from adoptive or foster parents who have raised the kids and know how they were born with the disabilities, and know that they will not always meet the expectations of others. A few of them had been abused by original families or parents.

There are other scenes showing the musicians at work, particularly in sewing  jobs.

There is plenty of music gear in the films, especially electric piano keyboards.  The music does tend to the "popular" for the culture.

When I was substitute teaching in early 2005, I had an assignment with a band class and special education students included, without much specific instruction, and it turned out to be very challenging. I'm afraid I didn't fully step up. The details are on the "BillBoushka" blog July 25, 2007.

The website is this. The video doesn't seem to live on the PBS any longer but can be rented at Netflix for Instant Play (subscribers). 

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