The Songs for Sound Hear the Music Tour is headed to Oklahoma City Friday at Rodeo Opry. The event is a musical celebration and fundraiser for the University of Oklahoma Cochlear Implant Program as well as outreach programs to educate families about treatment options for the profoundly deaf.
The concert will feature songwriters The Warren Brothers and Lance Miller. These songwriters, who hail from Nashville, have written some of the most popular country music recently, including “Red Solo Cup” for Toby Keith, “Feel That Fire” for Dierks Bentley and “Little Bit of Everything” for Keith Urban.
“These guys are awesome,” Songs of Sound Director Jaime Vernon said. “They do rounds [and] harmonies and are strong singers. You get the story behind the song. They’re so funny, and it’s very high-energy.”
Songs for Sound is a nonprofit organization founded by Jaime and Keith Vernon, whose own daughter, Lexi, had a successful cochlear implant surgery. After witnessing firsthand what a miracle cochlear implants can give the profoundly deaf, the Vernons knew they had to do something.
“My brother-in-law is the singer for Rascal Flatts, and we didn’t have a lot of money, but we had connections, and we all love music,” Vernon said. “I knew that whatever I did, I was going to keep music in all of it.”
Songs for Sound has grown tremendously since its inception in 2011. The nonprofit has hosted fundraising events across the country in Nashville, Los Angeles, Ohio and Florida.
Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma’s Cochlear Implant Program hold a very special place in the charity’s mission. Dr. Betty Tsai was recruited from Vanderbilt University’s prestigious otology and neurotology program, and she now is part of the program at OU.
“Dr. Tsai is a rockstar,” Vernon said. “She’s young, hungry, exciting and always looking for ways to improve.”
The Cochlear Implant Program at OU started with 27 successful implants in 2013, and 45 are scheduled already for this year.
“Our goal is to go in, throw this incredible event and get people to support the cause,” Vernon said.
Entry to the fundraising concert not only provides you with the opportunity to hear great music but also to enjoy local food and beverage vendors. This year’s event will have food and beverages donated from Brown Forman, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Revolve Pizza Kitchen, Bin 73 Wine Bar and Deep Fork Grill.
Songs for Sound encourages all to join in the fun to support such an important medical breakthrough.
“Rural kids are severely missed,” Vernon said. “Fifty percent of those caught at birth are not receiving services.”
This is something that the charity hopes to change with its fundraising and grant programs.
The importance of spreading the word about the treatability of profound deafness is imperative for this group. Lexi Vernon loves music now, and she even enjoys singing scales with her mom.
“That child loves music,” Vernon said. “Can you imagine going through that? Can you imagine not being able to experience one of the greatest love languages that we have?”