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Blind Piano Player Uplifts Others Through Music

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Blind Piano Player Uplifts Others Through Music

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Blind Piano Player Uplifts Others Through Music
Blind Piano Player Uplifts Others Through Music

MOUNT KING, N.C. (AP) — Dale Leeser believes in blooming where you're planted.

He likes to say that you can find manure everywhere.

Blind since age 9, he trained as a classical pianist and uses his skills to encourage and uplift others.

Recently, a half-dozen people gathered in the choir room of the H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Center and began flipping through a repertoire of songs for future performances, including a Valentine's Day program.

In the corner of the room at the piano, Leeser's fingers fly across the keys, an upbeat melody bursting out of the instrument as the band sings "The Crawdad Song" before segueing into "She'll be Coming Round the Mountain." .

One of the participants said that to join, you have to fulfill two conditions, you have to laugh and be a little crazy. But it is not necessary to be able to sing.

"You don't have to be able to sing," said Leeser. "It's not a qualifying metric for this group."

While the band reads the songs, Leeser types the titles on his braille typewriter.

As the group finishes their training, Leeser recites a prayer and they part ways.

Liser, who has always had a passion for the piano, began playing at age 5 and took lessons at age 9.

"It's always attracted me," she says. "I can't express in any way. I just remember that it was something that always came very easily to me.

He was destined to play the piano.

When he became completely blind as a child, his parents put him in a boarding school for the blind, and one of his teachers insisted that he learn to read sheet music in Braille, something he was reluctant to do at first but has since become an invaluable tool. instrument when he started playing classical music that cannot be learned by ear.

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Born and raised in Minnesota, he moved from his home state in 1989.

He earned his bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and his master's degree from the University of Arkansas and earned a 95% Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma. He said that he went to all the courses, lectures and exams, but he did not write the thesis. He said he didn't pay his bills and decided to work instead.

For many years, he worked as a tutor for the University of Oklahoma Ballet Department, and then for 12 years with the main choir in Oklahoma City. He also taught music in a small Bible school.

Eventually Leeser ended up in Kings Mountain, and about a year ago he opened the Kings Mountain Senior Center and knew he had the right to be a part of it. He got involved as much as possible and switched to piano for the choir.

According to him, for an hour the choir performed in various homes for recovery and the elderly, as well as in the center itself.

"It's a wonderful place," he said. "It's a very active, very positive place.

Leeser also volunteers in the kitchen, helping put the dishes in the dishwasher every week after dinner on Friday.

"It's good to be there," she said.

He also spends his time playing piano at his church, teaching and reading, which he describes as his biggest hobbies.

He can use the digital files on his phone to listen to e-books.

"I think blindness is a concern," she said. "We are all disabled to one degree or another."

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Leeser has never let his blindness stop him from living life to the fullest and doing all the things he loves, from participating in and winning a blind fishing tournament to bowling. , skiing and climbing.

"You don't have to search to do all this," he said.

He said that attending a residential school for the blind taught him the skills he needed to be independent and participate fully in life.

He was very impressed by living with visually impaired people and learning from teachers who knew how to deal with blind or disabled people.

"We were never taught that you shouldn't or couldn't do something," she said.

She said she learned as much outside the classroom as inside, such as making beds, cleaning, eating out and shopping.

“You learn to do it. There is no reason not to do it," he said.

He was grateful that his parents had the foresight and courage to send him to boarding school.

Leezer also has a guide dog named Pepper.

His third guide dog, he says they've been together for two years and he's come to love her.

"Pepper is the best game I've had," he said.

"When I walk, it helps me avoid obstacles," she said.

When he's in a parking lot and doesn't know the direction, she helps him find the door.

But when Pepper is at home, he, like any companion dog, should not work.

He also uses a cane to get around, but said Pepper gives him more confidence than just using a cane.

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Leeser said he was born with cataracts and had them removed as a child, but later developed glaucoma.

He then had to undergo many surgeries, but he had a lot of scarring and eventually lost his sight completely.

However, he does not feel sorry for himself.

"There is no reason to complain. "We all have things we would like to change."

He said one of his goals is to make life easier for others in any way he can and to be a blessing to those around him.

"I was given too much to keep in," she said.

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