13 deaf girls stand onstage, touch judges hearts when Ed Sheeran starts to play


The Deaftones is a choir made up of 13 girls between the ages of 13 and 39; all but two of them are deaf.

They auditioned on Ireland’s Got Talent earlier this month with a moving ballad, Ed Sheeran’s «Photograph,» evoking powerful emotions among the panelists as the two hearing members sang and the deaf lip-synched and signed the lyrics.

Their conductor, Shirley Higgins, started the choir seven years ago while teaching at a school for the deaf in Dublin.

The 11 deaf members can’t experience music in the traditional sense, she said, and instead sense the music and words through a combination of vibrations and lip reading.

«I think this choir group pretty much means everything to these girls because I don’t think they’d be as confident as they are,» Ciara, the only member of her family who can hear, said ahead of the performance.

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