WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- There's a lot of strength behind Matthew Welling's voice. And it's not just because the 9-year-old has been studying for the past five years at the Music Conservatory of Westchester.
It's also because this White Plains resident has gone through a lot in his young life: Prolonged hospitalization for an illness that required two bone marrow transplants and which also also took most of his sight. (He is legally blind.)
His father, Michael Welling, said music has played a significant role in Matthew's young life, especially reggae.
"During our six-month stay at Memorial Sloan Kettering we played reggae around the clock in an attempt to make the most unpleasant of atmospheres tolerable and to keep the 'positive vibrations flowing," he said. "We're sure Matthew's love and grasp of music stems from his diminished vision which is ironic as one of his music teachers characterized Matthew as 'being able to see music.'"
He said his son's love of music can be easily summed up in his "Make A Wish" wish. "When offered the option to travel anywhere in the world or do anything in the world or meet anyone in the world, he chose to meet Bob Marley. After quickly realizing this was not option, he chose to meet Ziggy Marley, who graciously continues his friendship with Matthew to this day."
Added the proud dad: "Matthew has a magic ear. He can hear something and almost play it immediately -- or will at least keep trying until he does."
Lucky listeners will get to hear Matthew as he performs off his new album “You Be The Rock Star" at 3 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Music Conservatory, 216 Central Ave. in White Plains. Expect a combination of piano, drums, and singing.
The youngster was directly involved with the production of each of the 12 tracks, which includes original songs and covers. All proceeds from the album sales will go to the Music Therapy Institute.
Matthew admitted he's a little nervous but is also excited because he'll get to show off all that he's been working so hard to master.
"Its been wonderful to see how much he has invested in the process over the last year recording his CD and preparing for the live gig," said James Maxson, Matthew's music teather. "I have no doubt he’s going to have a good time and we’ll see what surprises await us during the performance."
For information and tickets, go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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