Chrys Lindop is one of the finest audio engineers that I have ever worked with. He is one of the very few that have the combination of excellent technical, creative, and people skills. Chrys has worked with The Pretenders, David Byrne, Stevie Wonder, Ry Cooder, and way too many other acts to mention. He remains an in-demand engineer for the serious artists that recognize that the sound system is part of the performance and requires as much creative talent as every other aspect of the show.
I was intrigued to hear that he had become involved with a project in Glasgow that is working with the disabled community to put on performances.
I had the opportunity to have dinner in NYC with Chrys and Gordon Dougall, who is the creative director at Sounds of Progress. They were in New York as they are looking to expand its borders and bring the program to the United States. It’s a bit hard to capture the flavor of it all in a post, but I’ll do my best.
Sounds of Progress is a charity that trains and assists disabled people to develop musical abilities to a professional standard. They teach and bring world class production values and standards to their productions. As it turns out, for example being in a wheelchair isn’t really much of a hardship to someone that needs to sit behind a mixing console. Nor is being blind an insurmountable obstacle for a talented singer.
Sounds of Progress is an inclusive program that challenges everyone involved to produce great work. It is hard to discuss these communities without slipping into some euphemisms that really do everyone a disservice. Sounds of Progress takes talented people who are blind, autistic, physically and mentally handicapped and works with them to make great art. Unlike many well intentioned local performances where people are given roles beyond their reach, the SOP productions strike the right balance of challenging people to overcome their personal barriers while keeping the entire production focused on the quality of the performance.
The results have spoken for themselves. The quality of the productions has brought audiences, sponsors, and industry professionals and the local community all together wanting to be part of the project. They have moved into a larger facility in Glasgow with additional production facilities, and have launched multiple performing bands, as well as, the theatrical productions.
At the core of it all is a commitment to that very precious little piece of something that reminds us that we are all connected. It is the virtue that challenges each of us to hold ourselves to a higher standard, which is at its heart, and act of kindness.
They are looking for a US performance company to work with to begin work on new projects. If you are interested in learning more about the project, send me a note.