Watch: Reno musician performs solo without eyesight, with help from an iPad

by ALEX POMPLIANO

“Every morning when I wake up, I try to learn something that I didn’t know the day before.” This is Bill Davis’ mantra. It is this type of determination that helped him overcome a hinderance with technology and let innovation help his musical career as a saxophonist go into its second act.

Born with damaged eyes, Davis was forced to have cataracts removed from them when he was six-months old. When he turned 30, Davis was also diagnosed with the early stages of glaucoma; he currently suffers from full-blown glaucoma. Though he’ll  never be able to regain any of his lost site, he can stop his eyes from further deteriorating through eye medicine.

A veteran saxophonist, Davis performed with many bands over the years, but never considered playing solo gigs. That changed when Davis discovered a handful of other disabled musicians who were doing just this. Davis says he quickly realized it wasn’t so much the musician as it was their equipment.

Bill Davis continues to learn more about his iPad in the sunlight. Photo by Alex Pompliano

Bill Davis continues to learn more about his iPad in the sunlight. / Photo by Alex Pompliano

After enlisting the help of George McKinlay at the Nevada Assistive Technology Resource Center (NATRC), Davis received his first iPad. NATRC supports collaborative efforts with the community to bring about wider knowledge and adoption of Assistive Technology in Nevada. Davis says McKinlay gave him the confidence he needed to really try and accomplish something special.

Now — with the help of his iPad — Davis performs throughout Northern Nevada under the moniker ‘Me, Myself & I’.



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