Christine DeBlase is the founder and director of the group. She works with the team and teaches the translation of the songs from English to British Sign Language in a fun and engaging way.
She has completed her Level 6 NVQ in British Sign Language and Part 1 of the Level 6 NVQ in Sign Language Interpreting. She is currently studying a Masters in Interpreting at the University of Wolverhampton.
Although Christine is the leader, Handy Voices members have a equal voice on the direction of the group and the songs that they sign/perform. Suggests on song choices and places to perform welcome and voted democratically across the group.
Handy Voices is open to all who want to use their voice and express/experience music in a different way, through the beauty of British Sign Language. We welcome anyone who may be D/deaf, hearing, disabled, not disabled, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. For members that need extra support, their carers or guardians are also welcome.
No BSL experience is necessary, but an interest in learning something different and have fun is essential!
Members feel that we are not just a group that meets weekly– we are family and support each other through life’s journey. Hope to see you there.
Photo credit: Rand Russell, Cait Sweeney, Agata Urbiniak
In 2018 HV expanded and we had the a year long Youth Handy Voices project that was linked with the Ark T centre in Oxford and part of the My Normal Music accessibility project. Funding was made available by Youth Music and this amazing project gave youth members the opportunity to learn to sign sing and perform at the various venues including: Common People Festival, Cowley Road Carnival, ROAR Disability Festival, the Buddy Ensemble at the Royal Albert Hall and St Edwards School.
Photo credit: Christine DeBlase, Rand Russell