Coast musician Barry Charles brings disability awareness
SUNSHINE Coast singer-songwriter Barry Charles has been rocking and entertaining audiences on the Sunshine Coast since 1973. Apart from a few years when he played the international scene, his big voice and his mix of blues and jazz has been heard from Mooloolaba to Maleny and points north and south.
Barry (67) contracted polio in his left leg when he was 15 months old (these days he walks with the aid of two sticks) and says it restricts him from quite a few things. "But I'm not in a wheelchair. My work is music and I can sit down and play and sing."
This year he has been lending his superb talent to bringing public awareness to the charity 121 Care, a Cotton Tree-based organisation which has supported people with disabilities on the Coast and in Brisbane for more than 22 years. Barry is the proud patron and it is a new gig which is very important to him.
"They are a fantastic group of people. They provide services like personal and aged care, housekeeping, meals, transport, that sort of thing. They support those with long-term injuries such as cerebral palsy or acquired brain injury and there are programs for clients who want to have control over their own care.
"Seventy per cent of the committee have disabilities themselves and their aim is to make the lives of people who are also disabled a lot easier and more rewarding."
Right now, Barry's entertainment calendar is packed with bookings, including a trip to New Zealand, but one gig he is looking forward to next year is a music festival in Noosa to raise funds so people with disabilities can go sailing on Noosa River.
The date isn't set yet but it's timed for late March/April and is being spearheaded by 121 Care. He is thrilled he will be sharing the stage with entertainers with disabilities like star rapper MC Wheels and singer and guitar player Troy Stegert.
"It's their opportunity to make people aware of their talents and capacities.
"Their strength is what they've been through," Barry said.