Our Stories, Our Voices


I have always enjoyed singing and this is a way of giving something back”

It’s not always easy to get hold of WCBNY member Louise Wood.  The adjective busy and Louise are one and the same.  She and her husband Barry are perhaps the most physically fit members of the Westchester Council of the Blind.  When they’re not cross country skiing, camping or hiking they spend the weekends tandem biking for miles in NYC.  If like me,  you wonder how the blind bike, the answer is simple.  The bicycle built for two (just like the song from the 1800s) has one person in the back called the stoker and a front rider called captain. The blind stoker, in the back, pedals fast enough to match the speed of the sighted captain. When Louise isn’t skiing, camping, hiking or biking, she pursues her great passion – singing. She is one of a sextet called Gray Matters that covers Doo wop to show tunes.

I was lucky enough to recently catch Gray Matters at a local fair in Mamaroneck where for the first time I caught Louise in action as she and her fellow Gray Matters delighted shoppers with some rock, folk songs and Beatles tunes.  Based on that experience I came up with ten intense questions for her.

  1. What motivates you to want to sing publicly?
    I have always enjoyed singing and this is a way of giving something back to the community.  Singing gives me a natural high feeling which I like to share with the audience.  
  2. Do you sing in the shower?
    I don’t exactly sing in the shower: it’s more like humming and I do that a lot, even as soon as I get up in the morning.  As a child, family members used to stop me from humming even while I was eating.
  3. If you weren’t into singing, what else would you be doing?
    I would probably be biking and hiking a little more in the spring and fall, as rehearsals for one of my other groups take place on Saturday morning which is when biking occurs with intandembike.org.  This is a Library singing group.  They are called Sing Your Heart Out.  They are for seniors 55 years and older.
  4. Name your favorite song and why?
    My favorite song is We Can Be Kind sung by Nancy LaMott. This song puts forth a great message, and Nancy had a great voice.  She passed away in her 40’s. 
  5. What singer alive or dead would you rate a perfect 10 singer?
    I would rate Karen Carpenter as a great singer.  She had a very calm, soothing voice and her songs had stories behind them.

    Louise Wood fourth from left with fellow Gray Matters members Elaine Hartstein, Buddy Coughlin, Frank Deligio, Deboarh Pfau and Paul Zengara
  1. What living singer would you like to do duet with?
    I would like to do a duet with Jane Oliver, who was popular in the 80’s I also met her at one of her promotions for one of her C.D. 
  2. Does having a visual impairment affect your singing activities?
    Being blind, does not affect my singing.  I just need a little assistance knowing where to stand when I am performing, where microphones are located.  I miss the freedom of dancing more when I perform. 
  3. What dream project would you like your singing group to do?
    As I was growing up, I always had a dream of recording a record.  My singing group, Gray Matters Doo-wop is in the process of putting together a demo C.D., hopefully to become better known and book more singing engagements.  When I sang with The Lighthouse Chorus I had the honor of singing at ST. Patrick’s Cathedral for a holiday concert. 
  4. What three words describe you?
    Three words to describe me, friendly, outgoing and caring. 
  5. If you had one superpower what would it be? Why?
    If I had one superpower, I would want everyone to get along because then we would have a better world. 

Thank you Louise for taking the time to answer ten intense questions honestly.  To follow Louise and Gray Matters go to www.facebook.com/GrayMattersDoowop and for a special treat listen to them HERE.