American Idol star and lead singer for Quiet Riot, James Durbin, will be giving a Very Special Arts (VSA) performance Oct. 24 at the USF School of Music Concert Hall at 7 p.m.
Durbin is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Santa Cruz, California who has reached his dreams of being an artist despite having Tourette’s Syndrome and Asperger’s Syndrome.
Durbin gained fame through American Idol in 2011 before he joined the 80’s heavy metal rock band Quiet Riot in March, and he has also performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism and Tourette’s Syndrome is a condition that is characterized by a combination of involuntary noises or unwanted sounds called tics.
The tics associated with Tourette’s Syndrome usually disappear or diminish as the person starts singing.
VSA is a private nonprofit organization that is centered on providing art education programs and cultural experiences for and by people with disabilities.
Not only does VSA promote the success of those with disabilities by bringing their talent to campus, but they also help disabled students have a broader access to the arts through their professional development workshops.
According to Wendy Finklea, Director of Programs for VSA, there are four principles VSA stands for.
“Every student who has a disability should have a solid arts education, every teacher that teaches the arts should know how to teach students with disabilities, students with disability should have access to the arts without it being a big deal and if someone aspires a career in the arts VSA is there to support them,” Finklea said.
Every year VSA has a program called From Backstage to Center Stage, which provides an opportunity for upcoming or well-known artists who have a disability to serve as an inspiration to the disabled community and the USF community altogether.
Durbin will be performing and he will also be speaking with students about his struggles and how he overcomes them. To have a more personal discussion with the singer, students can also attend the USF Lunch and Learn in the school of music at 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in MUS 211.
Once you join the concert, students will have the opportunity to enter a drawing to win a Gibson Les Paul Guitar signed by Durbin.
To get the free tickets required for admission students must first visit www.vsafl.org.