Bridgeport woman to compete in festival for blind vocalists

Gigi Yanez-Hamberger of Bridgeport has been chosen to represent the United States in the first Lion’s World Song Festival for the Blind, to be held in Krakow, Poland, Nov. 18 through 21.

Lions Clubs provide services and programs at the local and international levels. The organization has 45,000 clubs and 1.3 million members — all volunteers — worldwide.

The clubs have an ongoing campaign to save the eyesight of people throughout the world through their Sight First Program, offering free exams to the public, providing education about eye disease and running the Lions Eye Bank. The Lions Eye Bank houses eye tissue, which is used for medical research, education and 30,000 surgeries each year. The Lions Club also has a program to recycle eyeglasses for the needy and provides assistance for people who need eye surgery.

The aim of the World Song Festival is to promote awareness of the difficulties and needs of those with their sight impaired hoping the festival will promote talented blind amateur artists, not professional musicians, and enable them to begin professional vocal career on the international stage.

Vocalists attending this festival competed in their own countries and will now compete against each other. They will perform their original songs live in front of a wide festival audience. A professional, international jury will pick the winners and people from the audience will pick their favorites, who will receive the audience award. For more information, visit lionsfestival.jordan.pl.

Yanez-Hamberger is originally from Chile, South America, but has been living in the U.S. for 35 years. She and her husband, Charlie, currently run a cafeteria at a local mental health facility. She also tutors English as a Second Language and Spanish at Housatonic Community College. She is a member of Blessed Assurance Prayer Community in Trumbull and sings in the Music Ministry.

Yanez-Hamberger learned about this opportunity through the Southern Connecticut chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, of which she is an active member.

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