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Sean Forbes

Sean Forbes

Sean is a musician on a mission. An accomplished and passionate drummer, rhythm pours out of him, when he breathes, walks, types at his keyboard or hits his drums. Music is in his blood, his cells; it’s just the way he is. He’s also deaf – and out to build a badly needed bridge between the music industry and deaf people everywhere.

Sean grew up in Detroit where his parents, both musicians, filled their home with the sounds of the Motor City: Mitch Ryder, Bob Seger, the Funk Brothers and more. Despite losing his hearing as a baby, Sean soaked up the beats and the vibrations, experiencing great music in his own way.

Inspired by what he calls “The Three B’s” (the Beastie Boys, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan), Sean started out making music videos in his basement and today is producing professional music videos with a focus on the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. He is a voice for not only his generation but deaf culture. He is co-founder of D-PAN, The Deaf Professional Arts Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on translating popular artists' songs into American Sign Language music videos for the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.

With his passion for music, Sean has opened the door to musical expression – a world historically considered off limits to people in the deaf community. His dream of music for all has helped to transform the way deaf people perceive music. Through his videos and his outreach to deaf people everywhere – particularly young people eager to feel included in popular culture – music is being presented to them as a beautiful symphony of thought and expression, available to all. The hearing community, too, is fascinated by his ASL translations of musical hits and is clamoring for more. Since 2008, Forbes has also performed in over 20 cities across the US and has appeared in front of over 15,000 people.

Sean Forbes is living proof that if you have enough passion and dedication, magic happens and dreams come true. “The world is run by those who show up,” he says, “And I’m showing up.”

Beethoven's Nightmare

Beethoven's Nightmare

Among America’s finest Deaf musicians, they collectively produce an unparalleled live music sign show with a unique big beat sound and visual language - the difference between a hearing band and a Deaf band. The four members are active, talented instrumentalists who LOVE music.

Ed Chevy

Ed Chevy

Bassist – From Honolulu, Hawaii, Ed has an illustrious career as a multi-celebrated ASL performing artist; he is often referred to as “Deaf Elvis.” He has extensive experiences with music, teaching ASL, comedy, storytelling, coaching/directing Hawaii Deaf Theater and leadership training; he is known as the “Ka Kuli Leo Aloha” (The Deaf Man of Hawaii) in the Pacific Rim, reflecting years of constant experiences in the entertainment industry.

Bob Hiltermann

Bob Hiltermann

Drummer – Bob is a multi-talented musician who performs magic tricks in addition to playing the keyboard, drums, and percussion. Born in Germany and raised in Canada, he was influenced by the classical musicians within his family. He met Steve Longo and Ed Chevy at Gallaudet University, where the three formed America’s first deaf rock and roll band, The Funk; the rest is history. Bob appeared in the critically acclaimed motion picture Children of a Lesser God, the CBS television movie A Bridge to Silence and numerous other TV series and commercials. Bob also writes songs, poems screenplays, and TV pilots.

www.bobhiltermann.com

Beethoven's Nightmare

CJ Jones

Percussionist – In January of 1997, CJ became the Executive Director of “Hands Across Communication”, a non-profit organization that provides tutors to mainstreamed students for after-school activities and focuses on improving their academic and social skills. CJ is committed to creating a level playing field for deaf people worldwide. His talents are boundless: directing, lead-acting, conducting workshops and producing. His exceptional skill comes so naturally that he remains a favorite with both deaf and hearing audiences. He is esteemed for both his humorous and his serious work.

Steve Longo

Steve Longo

Guitarist – Born a navy brat in Bethesda, Maryland, Steve first picked up a guitar at the age of 12, after the Beatles made an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. He met Ed Chevy in 1968 and they formed a duo. Steve formed a band and did several debuts on campus as a student at Gallaudet University, where the Beatles, Byrds, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Animals influenced him. After graduation, Steve. Ed, and Bob co-founded the MUSIGN group to translate songs in sign language using mime, music and show effects. His interest now lies in Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), and he performed a one-man show using the computer to accompany him with several instruments (drums, bass, and synthesizer) as he plays on the guitar. Steve now resides in Hayward, CA.

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Warren "WAWA" Snipe

This consummate entertainer has been performing since childhood and has and does nearly everything imaginable in the entertainment world. Acting, dancing, singing, modeling…you name it. He has also traveled the globe for the past dozen years performing with the Wild Zappers. He has written powerful poems and songs and his passion for music grew to a point that he had to share with the world. Warren Snipe, affectionately known as WAWA intends to introduce the world to a new kind of music…DIP-HOP…what’s that you ask? It’s Hip-Hop through DEAF EYES!! He also teaches Karate and is starting his own business.

DeaFestival has had the pleasure of hosting WAWA many times in the past when he has performed with the Wild Zappers and he performed solo in 2008, so let’s welcome him back to the SpotLights stage and the Jam Tent.

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