John Parry was an 18th century harpist who was not only an accomplished performer, but was also blind from birth. Born in 1710 in Wales, Parry found patrons who provided him with a triple harp. A triple harp has not only one row of strings but three, making for some incredibly complicated and intricate finger work. Parry divided his time between performing at his patron’s homes in Wales and London. He dazzled London’s cultural elite and his name has gone down eternally in music history.
A remarkable artist, Parry overcame a challenge so profound while pursuing a musical career in spite of his burden. As far away as my modern, 21st century Cape Town life may seem, the lesson to be taken from our 18th century Welsh bard is always clear to me: No matter what my circumstance, I can rise above. I don’t have to see my goal in order to achieve it, I only have to dream it.