There will be deaf and hard-of-hearing artists and vendors, an art contest, deaf entertainers, kids activity area, a sign-language interpreter workshop, silent auction, food, and much more. The hard-of-hearing entertainer, 34-year-old Joliet, Ill., native Aarron Loggins, who did sign language for the 2019 Super Bowl national anthem, will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $12 in advance (at rivermusicexperience.org) or $15 at the door.
“I'm very excited able to pull this off,” said event organizer Susan Sacco. Sacco served as the disability coordinator at Black Hawk College for 14-years before recently moving out of the area. This past Monday, she started her new job as regional office manager for the North Carolina Division of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services. “In a nutshell, it's my dream job. The timing wasn't the best, but you can't turn it down.”
She worked for a year with a group to plan the Saturday expo, which is open to the general public as well as the area's deaf and hard-of-hearing community, and sign-language interpreters. The expo, until 3 p.m., will include artists, vendors, and service providers from the Q-C and throughout the Midwest, Sacco said.
“RME has been phenomenal in jumping aboard to get this event started,” she said. “RME has been just fabulous. We are very thrilled to see this actually happen. We've worked hard as a committee to make this a reality. Most of the time, you usually have to drive to Chicago, or St. Louis (for similar events). To have this in the Quad-Cities, it's just huge.”
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Of Loggins, Sacco said his concert should appeal to anyone, as there will be music and signing together. He was the interpreter during Gladys Knight's performance of the National Anthem at Super Bowl LIII last February in Atlanta.
“We're very excited, honored to have him,” Sacco said, crediting Kate Dale of RME for booking him. “That's just outstanding.”
According to Loggins's bio, he learned American Sign Language by the age of 3. He's performed with several companies such as Wild Zappers, National Deaf Dance and Theater, Gallaudet Dance Company, and is a founder of the deaf step team Da Jump Back.
Loggins became the premier entertainer and advocate/activist for the deaf and hard of hearing, his bio said, noting he graduated from Gallaudet University in 2008 with a theater arts degree.
He was the first African-American who won Mister Deaf International (USA) in London in 2014 during Miss & Mister Deaf International. He's been in several television shows with TV ONE series (“For My Man” and “For My Woman”), ID (Investigation Discovery) series (“Evil Stepmother,” “Evil Twin,” and “Bride Killa”), and “The C-Word” season Web-series in the deaf role Tahj. Also, Loggins has written a book, “My Struggle, My Success.”