Blindness no obstacle as pair set for TV duet

Trevor Gibb and guide dog Oscar. INPT0616-427
Trevor Gibb and guide dog Oscar. INPT0616-427

Two local musicians who are both registered blind are to appear on the UTV Life show tomorrow (Friday), proving that sight loss is no bar to talent.

Richhill man Trevor Gibb and Portadown student James Cunningham will be featured playing ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ and ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ in the Europa Hotel, Belfast.

Trevor will be on the flugelhorn and James on the baby grand piano and lying quietly at their feet will be their guide dogs Oscar and Bart.

Trevor, who turns 60 this Sunday, and James, who is in his first year of a music degree at Queen’s University Belfast, met just before the Guide Dogs for the Blind NI 30th anniversary celebrations last year.

Since then the pair have bonded over a love of music, with Trevor asking James to play at a concert in Richhill featuring Philomena Begley.

They also played a set at Stonebridge Brasserie where James has a regular residency spot and, said Trevor, the diners “loved it”.

As a former professional musician, Trevor has a wide range of contacts in the entertainment industry, having played with the PM Big Band up until last year.

Over the years, he also played with Clubsound and appeared alongside household ‘names’ such as Susan McCann, Sandy Kelly and Jean Fitzpatrick.

His sight gradually worsened after surgery for a brain tumour in 1991 until he could no longer read music but, like James, he can play by ear.

He said, “I miss playing with my son, who is in London, so it’s great to have James. He is amazing and I really want to see him getting as much joy out of music as I did and making a success of his career.

“It’s good when people look at us and realise that life goes on even though you are blind.”

Although Trevor has had his guide dog Oscar for less than a year he says he has already made a huge difference. “The white cane is brilliant but Oscar is a companion,” he explained.

UTV Life starts at 10.40pm.