Have you ever visited the main shopping centre in Bunbury and been stopped in your tracks by a pianist whose musical talents have left you in awe? Chances are you will have been listening to Tamara Henry.
The talents of Tamara
Tamara is blind but her piano skills are exceptional. She was also born with a number of bone disorders which affect her face, wrist, back and ankles.
“My passion is music, complications with cataracts mean that I can’t see, but music really lifts me. If I am not playing on the piano at the Eaton Fair Centre, then you might find me generally busking in Bunbury.”
She’s also lifted spirits at nursing homes. When word leaked out about her talents, she was invited to play the keyboard in front of residents.
While the twenty-six-year-old has amazing musical talents, she also has other creative talents.
“I enjoy crafts and my favourite thing is to make things out of pipe cleaners, that’s models, and pictures. I’ve also won first prize in the Harvey Show for my pipe cleaner figures.”
Here at VisAbility we’ve been helping Tamara by providing Orientation and Mobility services and Occupational Therapy support.
Our first contact with Tamara she was when she was seven-years-old and in primary school where our therapist Gillian Fry went to visit her in her home to give her support with Orientation and Movement.
We have a hub in Bunbury and Tamara continues to receive guidance from our Occupational Therapy team and assistance with technology from our Assistive Technology specialists. She now has an iPhone, which has voice output, and leads a very independent life.
One of our strengths is working with families and individuals across WA in rural and remote locations.
Working within the community
The skills Tamara has learnt have helped her to take up numerous roles within the community.
Tamara volunteers at a church in Harvey, where she prepares the vegetables for a large weekly community dinner. She’s also gone back to school – this time not as a pupil, but a volunteer.
“Tamara came to us last year as she wanted to help and to show her appreciation for all that we’d done for her when she was a student,” explains Sharon Simpson, Library Officer at Harvey Senior High School.
“She’s a real asset to the school, she cuts the plastic so our library books are covered and protected, tidies the library shelves and helps to shred obsolete documents. It’s her way of giving back.”
“Tamara will play piano to students and they are simply blown away by her talents. It demonstrates that anything is possible no matter what obstacles you face – It’s a good example of resilience for our pupils.”
If you live in a regional area like Bunbury and want to find out about the services we offer here at VisAbility take a look at our Therapy for Adults and Seniors. You can see Tamara play the piano on vimeo.