MONROE, La. (KNOE) - It was a passion to pursue a degree in vocal music education that lead Mandy Harvey to Colorado State University.
"I grew up with a huge passion for music," she said. "And I was always hard of hearing. I was always very shy. And I found music as a way to express myself."
But Mandy has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and lost her hearing at 18.
"And so I kind of lost myself in that for awhile. But I started taking ASL classes, got involved with the deaf community, started learning a new way to communicate, and that really encouraged me to start saying yes to things. So figuring out how to do music again, without being able to hear myself, was a struggle. But it was incredible," Mandy Harvey, vocalist, said.
Technology assists Mandy to feel the instruments as she performs. She uses self tuners to rehearse and a special vest that sends vibrations from the orchestra to her body during performances.
"I used to use a marker and then find where the vibration was the strongest, and like ok "C" is right here ," she said.
No matter the challenge, Mandy has found a way to overcome it and follow her heart, which is full of music.
"One of the last big memories I have of college when I was a music major was performing with a symphony. And because I had already lost my hearing at that point and the distance from everything I couldn't feel the music," she said. "And I just stood there and I mouthed watermelon watermelon. So the thing that's beautiful about this moment is not only do I get to be surrounded by the love and warmth of people from Louisiana but I also get to replace a negative memory with a beautiful one."
Mandy said she hopes to spread a positive message and lift others up to say 'yes' and follow their hearts.
Tickets are still available for the concert Feb. 10. You can buy them at the door or on the symphony's website.