FARMINGTON — Students studying American Sign Language will work with Sean Forbes, a deaf rapper from Detroit, during a workshop as part of Mt. Blue American Sign Language Day Experience on Friday, April 7, at Mt. Blue Campus.

Forbes is also a prolific drummer, songwriter and communicator, according to his biography at About 90 percent of Forbes’ deafness is due to spinal meningitis when he was an infant.

During the evening hours, students will perform songs and present a poem in American Sign Language during the first-half of the M.A.D. Experience Show with Forbes. He is known for his hip-hop music and will perform during the second-half.

“The goal for having these annual shows is to help bridge the deaf and hearing communities and to show everyone that deaf (people) can do anything hearing (people) can — except hear,” Mt. Blue ASL teacher Gail Carlson said.

Students have 11 songs and one student-written poem in the works. They are all student-selected songs they have been working on throughout the third quarter of the school year, Carlson said.

“With the help of deaf volunteers in the community and myself, students have learned how to interpret and sign the lyrics to the songs or poems they have selected or created,” she said.


Three students will sign the national anthem and 33 students and support staff will sign “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera.

The show will be emceed by students using American Sign Language and speaking English.

Forbes will be conduct a two-hour workshop with Carlson’s sign language students as well as deaf and hard-of-hearing students from surrounding schools.

The workshop will consist of group activities done in sign language, a motivational presentation and a meet-and-greet session for the students to learn more about deaf culture and Sean Forbes. Forbes has put out three CDs of his top hits, Carlson said.

He has also been working with Web Entertainment, which is responsible for helping Eminem, an American rapper, make his record debut. Forbes also co-founded Deaf Professional Arts Network, known as D-Pan.

This is the first time Forbes has performed in Maine, Carlson said.

The show is from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Bjorn Auditorium. Admission is $5 at the door. For more information, contact [email protected]

[email protected]

Deaf rapper. drummer and songwriter Sean Forbes of Detroit will perform from Friday, April 7, in Bjorn Auditorium at Mt. Blue Campus on Seamon Road in Farmington. Admission is $5 at the door. 

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