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Tony DeBlois at the piano

Tony DeBlois in Concert!

Tony DeBlois is one of the most talented and remarkable musicians alive today. A blind autistic savant, he can play more than 8,000 songs and sing in 12 languages. Early in March, he was hosted by Autism Speaks of Nantucket, in concert with Nantucket S.T.A.R., and the Nantucket Community Music Center, and funded by the Community Foundation for Nantucket, at the Mary P. Walker Auditorium at Nantucket High School.  A large crowd turned out to see DeBlois play, accompanied by his mother and manager, Janice DeBlois, who explained much of her son’s life story. DeBlois, 37, of Randolph, Mass., was born at 1.47 pounds, and could not speak coherently until he was a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston, from which he graduated magna cum laude.  

During the performance, DeBlois played songs by Elvis Presley, Andrew Lloyd Webber, fellow blind musician Stevie Wonder, and many others. The first half of the concert took the form of a fairly standard musical event, while, in the second half, DuBlois played songs at audience request.

“We were happy that there were people of all ages in the audience, and it warmed my heart to see all the children gathering around Tony for his autograph afterwards,” said Kim Horyn, Director of the Autism Speaks Resource Center on Nantucket.

“He is such an inspiration to all of us when you see how gifted he is and how much he has had to overcome in his life. His joyful personality reminds us of how fortunate we are and how much harder it could be,” she added.

DeBlois finished his performance by speaking personally to the audience, urging them to follow their dreams, and to never give up. “Believe in yourself, practice and work hard. You can do it,” he said.

The Community Foundation for Nantucket (CFNan) connects people who care with causes that matter to them by providing simple, powerful and creative ways to give back to the community, to help ensure Nantucket's vitality now and forever.