Chelsea, United States
By Brian Snyder
When I first met Precious Perez, she was with a group of blind children and adolescents who had come to meet horses performing in an acrobatic show.
The kids stood with their chaperones in the middle of a practice tent, taking in the sounds, smells and vibrations as riders rode horses around them in circles. Afterwards, Perez went up to one of the animals and softly sang the Taylor Swift songs “Love Story” and “Safe and Sound” to him.
Perez has been blind since birth. She lives in Chelsea, Massachusetts, a working-class city right by Boston. Her life is both like and unlike that of many of her contemporaries, blind or sighted. She walks with a friend to their public high school in the morning, takes voice lessons, plays goalball, Tweets and follows her friends on Facebook.
One January evening, Perez traveled alone on The Ride, a public transport service for people with disabilities, from her home in Chelsea to the New England Conservatory in Boston for voice lessons and a performance.
She sang Purcell’s “Hark the Ech’ing Air” from The Fairy Queen, composed in 1692, and the more modern “¿Con que la lavare?” from Cuatro madrigales amatorios by 20th century composer Joaquin Rodrigo.