ONTARIO — Members of the deaf community Wednesday witnessed an unfamiliar, but amazing sight: a performance by deaf DJ Nico DiMarco.
“This is a big deal because we’ve never had a deaf DJ,” said Tonya Haga, director of deaf services for Catalyst Life Services.
Each summer, she and her employer, Cataylst Life Services, offer events for the deaf community. She said they may have a hard time socializing with others who do not know sign language.
More than 75 deaf youth from all over Ohio came and enjoyed DiMarco’s DJ skills at Ontario Christian Church.
“We are very, very excited to have (DiMarco) come,” She said, “It’s a very big deal.”
The event went from noon to 3 p.m., wrapping up the “Do It Deaf” summer program for Catalyst.
DiMarco was born profoundly deaf, he said through an interpreter, but fell in love with music at an early age.
“People used to ask me, ‘Can I hear the music?’ And I said no, but I can feel the beat. Then YouTube came out, and I could read the lyrics with the beat. I could start recognizing the songs with the beats I loved growing up,” DiMarco said.
DiMarco, who lives around Washington, D.C., said he is excited to be able to share his love of music with his audiences.
“I hope they can experience the same understanding that I have. Music is not all about sound, it’s about vibrations and the feel of the mood,” he said. “Everyone has different levels of hearing, and it’s really a spectrum. You can really enjoy music anywhere on that spectrum.”
The floor of the church’s sanctuary, where the event was held is concrete. The volume was turned up. Haga said the loud volume levels help those feel vibrations of the bass and percussion, just as DiMarco feels them.
“We’re approaching deaf youth and showing them that they can do anything. How often do you see someone from outside the state (doing this) .. maybe not that often,” DiMarco said. “This is great exposure of a deaf DJ or deaf professionals. It’s important to encourage them and help them develop personality.”
DiMarco is 20 minutes older than his twin brother, Nyle DiMarco, a deaf celebrity in his own right after winning America’s Next Top Model and Dancing With the Stars.