Marleena Barber's one-woman show, "Thank You for the Music," tells the story about her life growing up, legally blind with Albinism and how music played a vital role in the journey to believing in herself. The show is an inspiring piece that reaches all ages through a variety of different songs (Broadway, Jazz, Contemporary, Disney), accompanied by piano, encouraging audiences to live their dreams despite the challenges they face. The show was featured at the 2010 International VSA festival--a festival on arts and disability--produced by the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Price Range: $250-$600
Gig Length: 40 - 70 minutes
Legally blind from a genetic condition called Albinism that also affects the pigmentation of the eyes, skin, hair and causes sensitivity to sunlight, Marleena Barber has been active in promoting positive disability awareness through education and performance.
A native of New England, Marleena began her singing career at age 12 as a featured soloist on an album of environmentally themed children's songs written by Maine singer/songwriter Mike Nobel titled "Color Me Green." She also recorded television jingles written by Nobel for WCSH Channel 6 (NBC affiliates in Maine). After graduating from high school, Marleena left the small town of Gorham, Maine for California to pursue an education and career in music, where she earned a B.A. in Music Performance from Whittier College. Shortly after graduation, Marleena began singing with a cover band for 2 years (Ray and the Idols), and taught music at The Farm School, a small private elementary school at the University of California in Irvine. She then began an 11 year-long career (2005 – 2016) at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles where she directed a choir of all blind and visually impaired students ranging in age 8-18. In addition to leading her students to gold-rating standards at adjudicated festivals, she created a young men’s choir, a summer musical theater camp and directed two musical productions during her time at Braille Institute.
Marleena has performed in local Southern California theatrical productions including Into the Woods (Witch), A Chorus Line (Maggie), The Spitfire Grill (Percy), Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Ginger), From Berlin to Broadway (Lotte Lenya) and has appeared at the Orange County Fair, Inland Empire Jazz Festival, Richard Nixon Library Sunday Concert Series, and has performed during the holiday season at South Coast Plaza for the past 10 years. She has lent her voice to song writers for demos and studio projects of various styles and genres. She was invited to perform on Capitol Hill for Congress as part of National Arts Advocacy Day (2008) alongside guest speakers John Legend and acclaimed folk singer Peter Yarrow. She also sings with Frequency A Cappella, a 7 person voices-only band which took 3rd place at the Los Angels Harmony Sweeps in 2012.
From an early age, Marleena showed a maturity and musical ability to connect with her audiences on a deeply emotional level. As a cabaret artist, Marleena has found an art form by which to tell stories and connect with audiences while singing a variety of different genres and styles. Her one-woman show, Thank You for the Music, tells the story about her life growing up with Albinism and how music played a vital role in the journey to believing in herself. The show is an inspiring piece that reaches all ages, encouraging audiences to live their dreams despite the challenges they face. The show was featured at the 2010 International VSA festival--a festival on arts and disability--produced by the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. She also sang the Star-Spangled Banner for the Washington Nationals (MLB) as an artist representative of the VSA Festival while in Washington D.C.
Marleena became involved in the arts and disability organization affiliated with the Kennedy Center known as Very Special Arts in 2007, when she was awarded the VSA California Young Soloists Award and was invited to perform in Washington D.C. for the Start with the Arts Festival. She has since benefited from opportunities to perform at festivals and programs through the VSA organization. She served on the board of directors for VSA California for 3 years (2 as Chair) and continues to serve on the advisory committee for VSA California at Orange County to advocate for access to the arts for people of all abilities. During her 11 years working for Braille Institute, she served as teacher and mentor to her students, sharing the common challenges of being visually impaired. She strived to be a role model to her students and provide opportunities and experiences that built confidence and self-esteem. Marleena believes that the skills her students learned through the preparation and execution of performance are skills that are able to transfer and help them be successful in a “sighted world.” Marleena was recognized by her alma mater, Whittier College, in 2011 for her advocacy work when she was awarded the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Marleena is also a member of NOAH, the National Organization of Albinism and Hypopigmentation, where connecting and offering support to others with Albinism remains close to her heart.
|Piano Accompanist||Provide live accompaniment|
PA with 2 mics. Piano on site desired.
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