Image courtesy of Ben Shivas
It was an inspirational afternoon for both young disabled people and a Kiwi artist at a community event last month.
New Zealand pop singer Jamie McDell visited a StarJam monthly meeting as a guest artist, but felt she got just as much out of it as the young people.
StarJam run performance based workshops and create a platform for young people with disabilities to showcase their talents.
“You get a bit caught up in the industry sometimes,” Ms McDell says. “It’s nice to come back where there are people who are just passionate about music… and it’s just kind of a reminder why I got into it in the first place.”
Hannah Kerse, who was born with cerebral palsy, described it as “the most amazing experience ever”. The 18-year-old’s dream is to become a singer-songwriter and says Ms McDell is an “incredibly” good role model.
“She writes honest songs and songs that actually mean something, and they’re relatable,” says the Dairy Flat resident.
Ms McDell finds it “insane” when people are star-struck around her. “I’m no better than anyone here. They’re doing the same thing as I do getting up and performing.”
“To come here today and to see the enthusiasm, not just from the performers but the audience… society has got a lot to learn from a community like this,” she says.
Mary Ansell, the Chief Executive of StarJam, says having musical guests is very special to all involved with the charity.
“Meeting someone you look up to who shares a love of the same things as you doesn’t happen that often. It is so rewarding to be able to give the Jammers that opportunity,” Ms Ansell says. “Jamie placed a beautiful photo of her and one of our Jammers on her Facebook page with a lovely message which can only help grow the awareness of StarJam.”
Ms McDell, who has recently finished recording her second album, says she was ‘Jammed’. “I’ll be back for sure.”