Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The "Brailling Signs Is Cool to Do" Song

By Linn Sorge, Hadley Instructor

Becky Williams has always enjoyed writing new lyrics to well-known melodies. Her creative work sends forth messages to help to bring about positive change as they lift people up, and bring smiles along the way.

I met Becky when she moved to Wisconsin in 1960. We've enjoyed a lifelong friendship with music as an integral part of it. We would toss ideas back and forth about potential songs and lyrics to create just the right song to help a specific cause or brighten someone's day.

Becky became an ambassador for The Hadley School for the Blind as part of her employment at the Badger Association for the Blind in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since that time, she has been coping with the challenges of cancer recurrence. I asked her a few months ago if she had any kind of "Make-A-Wish" ideas. The song is one of them. She said it would be so meaningful to her if a professional musician could someday sing and record one of her songs.

Two superb singer/song writers, Anne Hills and David Roth, came immediately to my mind. They are my dear friends and have become good friends of The Hadley School for the Blind. They were the performers during all four benefit folk concerts for the school called "Spring from Darkness Into Light." I wrote and told them of Becky's wish and the importance of the message within the song. That is all that was needed. I soon had their recording in my email box. They worked with a long-time friend of David's, Chip Kramer, who added his skill, musicianship, and music studio to help the wish become a reality. All efforts offered by the three of them to bring this musical braille project to our Web site were given with enthusiastic caring and volunteer time.

The song was originally sung by Neil Sedaka in the early 1960s as "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do." Our school has obtained permission from EMI Records and Universal Music to use the original melody and chords in combination with the new lyrics. We hope you enjoy this new version sung by Anne and David. Please help us to promote its message of universal braille access which is so vital to all of us here at the Hadley School. We've been teaching braille to students since 1920!

Becky is currently in hospice care. With many people working together, we have now brought one of her wishes to our Web site to help lift her spirits up.

UPDATE: Becky Williams is now at peace. At the time of her passing, November 7, 2011, 712 requests for her song had come from around the world.

If you want to learn more about Anne or David and their music, check out the Websites listed below:

For a free MP3 file of this song, available for a limited time, email directly with "Brailling Signs Song" in the subject line. If you are a parent of a visually impaired child, an adult braille user, or a blindness professional and want to let us know that, feel free to add it to your email! We'd love to know how you will be using the song.

We invite you to share the link to the song on the Hadley Website: We are unable to grant permission to post it on another Website, offer streaming, or share copies. We are bound by a licensing agreement with EMI Records and Universal Music. While Hadley is providing you a copy of the song at no charge, we are paying a small fee for each download, so we must keep accurate count.

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