The following article was sent to me by Valerie Turner Williams. It was published in the Monthly Communicator, a publication of the NJ Department of Human Services, Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The first time I was introduced to this group of youth from First Baptist Lincoln Gardens, Somerset, NJ was when I was invited to participate in their fundraising efforts for the Haitian Deaf Community in Haiti. They held their first annual "Finger Singers of Faith Concert Featuring Sign Language and Dance."
The article below is being reprinted in hopes that you or your youth may be encouraged to reach out in ways you may not have thought of before to do ministry.
Finger Singers of Faith - First Place Winners
by Valerie Turner Williams
There was excitement in the air Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 and for a good reason. The musical sign language group, The Finger Singers of Faith, won first place at the Youth Explosion! Talent Show Contest, presented by G.C.H. Productions, the 2012 Youth Explosion! Talent Show Contest a Christian talent competition, took place at the Ukrainian Cultural Center, Somerset, NJ. Teenagers from across the state of New Jersey presented their best talent. Talent acts included singing dancing, rapping and praise stepping all praising God in song and dance.
The Finger Singers of Faith (FSOF), the only group using sign language in their talent, gave a unique performance at the talent show. The Finger Singers combine sign language with dance and music to a Christian song medley entitle "Tribute to God: Michael Jackson Edition." The FSOF unique talent act won the first place prize - $1000.00.
The four Finger Singer teens Atiya Gladden, Tyler Koon, Christian Raynes, Shawn Raynes, portrayed the '70's Jackson's singing group wearing bell bottom pants, afro hair and sequined vests. The audience cheered as the group signed "The Jackson 5" and Michael Jackson songs.
Choreographed by Valerie Turner Williams and managed by Rene Raynes, the Finger Singers of Faith "too sign language to another level."
The Finger Singers of Faith all agree: "You don't have to be Deaf to appreciate music; you don't have to be hearing to enjoy sign language!"