Flame, a rock group from upstate New York, is believed to be the only touring rock group in the world that is composed solely of people with disabilities. Among the band members are people with conditions that include Down syndrome, cognitive delays, autism, cerebral palsy and blindness. Lead singer Michelle King (above) has autism. Member David LaGrange grew up in an institution.
The group was formed six years ago in Gloversville, NY, after an area talent contest turned up several accomplished musicians with intellectual disabilities. It has since blossomed, with CDs, t-shirts, a tour bus, a world tour, and a performance at Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s funeral last summer.
The musicians’ goal is have their music played on radio stations everywhere and to demonstrate what the disabled can do if they’re given the opportunity.
“Our disability will not stop us,” LaGrange said. “We keep going and the more we keep going, we want more people to see what we do.”