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April 22, 2004

Story of daughter of RiverKings team captain taken to stage by local dance group

From: OurSports Central (press release) - Marshfield,WI,USA - Apr 22, 2004

April 22, 2004 - SOUTHAVEN, Miss.—Maggy Parsons' hearing loss and cochlear implant surgery inspired many in the Mid-South area to help children with hearing loss, and now her journey is being performed to music by the local non-profit dance group, Ballet DeSoto.

"Feel The Music" runs about an hour and will be performed Thursday, April 22 through Sunday, April 25. Performances will be 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 each for groups of 10 or more. All proceeds go to Parsons' Pledge, a donor-advised fund of Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, which benefits children's charities.

Memphis RiverKings team captain Don Parsons began to champion the cause of deaf children after Maggy, his daughter, was born in 2001 and began months of preparation therapy at the Memphis Oral School for the Deaf to receive a cochlear implant in May 2003. He began Parsons' Pledge, a donor-advised fund benefiting the Oral School among other charities during those months.

Parsons' eldest daughter, Abby, 4, dances at Stars In Motion dance school. The school's proprietor, Jill Morris, found Ballet DeSoto to offer performance opportunities to persons in the community with no other outlet for dance performance.

"I was at the DAC (Desoto Athletic Club) when I first saw the brochures for Parsons' Pledge," Morris said. "As I read it, I thought, we should do something for them since they're one of our families."

Morris went on with her workout. She began to think about a girl she had known growing up who was deaf and danced.

"They always put her close to the speakers so she could feel the vibrations of the music," she said.

And that's when it hit her, Morris said, almost like it was divinely inspired: "Feel The Music," a story in dance and music about Maggy's journey from a world of silence—and the struggles she encounters as tries to communicate—to a world of sound.

"She's learning to hear and to talk, and eventually she'll want to sing," Morris said. "The show depicts what it will be like learning to be a normal kid, a normal young adult, a normal woman. It's in part what she's going through now, and in part what we envision her journey will be like."

The show incorporates bluegrass, folk, hip-hop, jazz and pop music and dance, like "Live Out Loud," "Talk About It," and "I've Got The Music In Me." It also features some original music written especially for the show.

While preparing the show, Morris did some research and visited the Memphis Oral School for the Deaf, where Maggy is enrolled in the Parent-Infant Training program. While she was there, she met a 7th-grade girl who graduated from the Oral School program several years ago.

"She is a cheerleader at her school, very involved in school activities and making good grades," Morris said. "She's beautiful and outgoing. You would never know she's deaf unless you saw the implant.

"Maggy is a beautiful child and we have been very touched by her story. I get emotional just thinking about it. We will continue to watch her grow up as the story unfolds in her daily life."

For more information contact the DeSoto Civic Center box office at 662-470-2131.

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