Music in the dark

Ever wonder what it would be like to go to a concert completely blind?

That’s what people who attended Ryerson’s Darkness: Music For Dreams show experienced.

Each attendee was led in with the help of a guide who would verbally alert them of steps to walk down and which direction they were to walk in. This was done with groups of five people linking arms with one another.

Five acts played ballads of cover songs over the course of two hours.

Only being able to hear the performances moved people on a deeper emotional level.

“I felt myself getting shivers throughout the performance,” said Emily Joveski, 22, a third-year journalism student. “The sound of the voices impacts you more.”

Some found the experience familiar.

“It was like listening to your iPod when you’re trying to fall asleep except not because it’s live,” said Ekaterina Rubin, 17, a first-year student.

She said the experience reminded her of when people ask, “would you rather be deaf or blind?” and she would usually respond by saying she would rather be deaf.

“Now I don’t think I could answer that question because I’d miss music too much,” said Rubin.

Others were surprised by what they picked up on.

“I thought I’d focus more on the lyrics but it was the music as a whole that got to me,” said Klaudia Rychlicka, 22, a third-year arts and contemporary studies student. “You couldn’t hear anyone talking but I think if they could see there would be more talking.”

One of the acts didn’t find performing in the dark much different from performing with lights.

“I didn’t think about it too much, I just tried to focus on the music,” said Maccie Paquette, 23, a radio and television arts alumni from Ryerson.

Her band-mate Joob Vakili, 22, found it to be easier to perform this way.

“I had my eyes closed for most of it anyway,” he said. “I could feel the notes more that way.”

The show aimed to raise awareness about individuals with impaired vision and provide a unique musical experience by blindfolding the audience.

“We wanted to stimulate the experience of what it would be like for a blind person,” said Juan Udarbe, 20, the financial chair of Musicians@Ryerson.

Proceeds from the five dollar tickets will be donated to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).

The evening was put on with combined efforts from the Chinese Students Association, CNIB, and Musicians@Ryerson.