Lisa Thorson

Lisa Thorson is a jazz singer, songwriter, actress, and is physically challenged. As a result of an injury in 1979, Lisa is now confined to a wheelchair. This has not stopped Lisa from making an impact in the world of jazz and it has enhanced her understanding of just how far we have to go to make the world accessible to the handicapped. For five years, Lisa was the Access Education Coordinator at Boston's Adaptive Environments Center, where she designed and presented training programs to help integrate the physically challenged into culture and the arts. Her current project is making beaches accessible to those in wheelchairs. Lisa's talents as a jazz singer have been written up in the Boston Herald, The Evening Gazette and the Boston Globe likening her to a young Ella Fitzgerald with the promise to be a rising star in the world of jazz. She could leave it at that. It takes 100% full time dedication and hard work to pursue a career in music. But Lisa has chosen to take up the gauntlet of accessibility for the handicapped to the more than just the basic pleasures of life.

In 1982 Lisa created Spokesong, a musical production designed to educate the public about disability issues in the form of a delightful performance. Lisa incorporated a very skillful presentation by American Sign Language Interpreter to not only make it possible for the hearing impaired to enjoy the performance, but to demonstrate by example what can be done.

Lisa's work has spanned the last 16 years working with such esteemed organizations as the Very Special Arts USA, Adaptive Environments Center in Boston, and Next Move Theater. She has served on the Mayor's Commission on Handicapped Affairs for the City of Boston and received three successive scholarships to attend Jazz in July at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Lisa Thorson, for showing by example that you can make your dreams reality in spite of physical obstacles, and for paving the way for others who are physically challenged, we honor you with the Living Legacy Award.

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