Bethlehem, PA, July 19, 2023 – ArtsQuest is pleased to announce its partnership with VSYN+, a first-of-its-kind streaming platform in sign language entertainment, for a two-night event at this year’s Musikfest that will include sign language performances by nationally recognized Deaf artists and entertainers from the signing community.
Executive Producer CJ Jones, an acclaimed Deaf artist and creator of the Navi Sign Language used in Avatar 2 and 3 and the DASL used in “The Last of Us,” brings his 40 years of experience within the entertainment industry to curate and produce the VSYN+ shows.
Taking the stage at Musikfest Café on August 6 at 7:30 p.m., Nyle DiMarco, winner of America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars, will emcee and introduce all performances. To start, SignTasTic!, a fun, interactive game show designed to teach American Sign Language (ASL), with show host Dan Cook, will challenge and entertain both the hearing and non-hearing crowd.
DJ Nicar will join the stage for two musical performances with ORL B THA CODA, a musician and sign language storyteller, followed by a set from Keith Sho’Roc Brown, the first Hard-of-Hearing pop recording artist that sings and uses American Sign Language simultaneously. The final performance of the night will feature Mandy Harvey, a deaf singer and songwriter who was a finalist and Golden Buzzer winner on America’s Got Talent.
On August 7 at 5 p.m., the evening host and emcee, Justin Osmond, Deaf musician, activist and member of the famous Osmond Family, will bring back SignTasTic! and host Dan Cook, for another interactive game show, followed by musical performances from Darius McCall, Jamar “J. Cacao” Scales and Beautiful the Artist. Darius McCall is a Deaf rapper, who has made significant contributions to the Deaf hip-hop community, while Jamar “J. Cacao” Scales ASL performer, songwriter and producer. To wrap up the event, Beautiful the Artist, a former Miss Black Deaf America and a deaf rapper, will perform.
“Entertainment transcends the limitations of language by introducing new experiences fueled by different backgrounds and unique perspectives,” said Todd Donnelly, Chairman for VSYN+. “We are excited to be a part of Musikfest, where we will introduce the VSYN+ streaming platform for the very first time.”
“We always look for new ways to broaden our access and inclusion efforts during Musikfest to make it as welcoming as possible for everyone,” said Patrick Brogan, Chief Programming Officer.
“The VSYN+ partnership with Musikfest is history in the making,” said CJ Jones, Executive Producer. “I look forward to producing these talented Deaf artists’ performances.”
All sign language performances will be held in the Musikfest Café on Sunday and Monday evening. The event is free to attend and open for the entire community to enjoy. American Sign Language (ASL) will be used throughout SignTasTic! and all musical performances. Sign Language interpreters will be on-site to provide English interpretation.
A record-breaking 1,240,000 people attended Musikfest in 2022. The 11-day festival featured over 500 free performances, across 16 stages located throughout the City of Bethlehem. The 40th Musikfest is scheduled for Aug. 4 – 13, 2023, with a special preview night on Aug. 3. This year’s Musikfest 2023 poster artist is Allentown-based family Maltas Con Leche. Visit musikfest.org for more information.
ArtsQuest’s mission is to provide access to exceptional artistic, cultural and educational experiences using arts and culture as key elements of economic development for our urban communities. ArtsQuest™ supports this mission via the presentation of performing and visual arts, film, arts education classes and outreach, youth programming and cultural events. Through festivals such as its flagship event, Musikfest; the Banana Factory Arts Center; and the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks arts and cultural campus, ArtsQuest’s programming reaches more than 1.9 million people annually. The organization’s programs and events, of which over 50% of which are free to attend, have a combined economic impact of more than $136 million annually in the region.
VSYN+ is an innovative new streaming platform built by the sign language community empowering everyone to enjoy streaming shows and movies they will love. Until now, there hasn’t been a home for content made by the sign language community for everyone. Be the first to experience VSYN+ entertainment at vsynplus.com.
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