For Once in My Life Proves Everyone Can Do Anything
A 29-member, multicultural band rehearses in a small room in a Goodwill Industries factory to prepare for a concert in front of mayors from all over the United States, meeting in Miami for a conference. No ordinary band, all the members are severely disabled, either physically or mentally, with disorders that include Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, visual impairments including blindness, brain damage, and autism.
Meet The Goodwill Spirit Band and their incredibly dedicated, energetic, and patient leader, Javier Peña, on Tuesday, February 1, in Jim Bigham and Mark Moorman’s documentary, For Once in My Life, premiering on Independent Lens (PBS) at 10:00 p.m. (E/P). Bigham and Moorman filmed rehearsals, as well as individual members in their homes, over the course of several months. Besides entertaining and informing, For Once in My Life invites the audience to examine its views on people with physical and mental challenges.
Some band members are highlighted, as are their histories; family members recount events contributing to their disabilities and talk about their lives. Most of the musicians learned to play their instruments at Goodwill; they are all Goodwill employees, and earn a living sewing flags and clothing for the military. Their talent, dedication, and discipline are inspiring.
At the conclusion of their Miami Opera House performance, The Spirit of Goodwill Band receives an enthusiastic standing, cheering, whistling ovation. The film is followed by an update on the band and its members. Watch For Once in My Life and you’ll never again say “I can’t…”
(All images courtesy of PBS)