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George Dennehy, a 19-year-old singer and musician, is capturing attention all over the web (and the world) for his unique talents. Because he was born without arms, he sings and plays music from his heart using his feet.
He will be bringing his inspirational message in a free performance at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 in the B&O Building auditorium on the Wheeling campus of West Virginia Northern Community College as part of the college’s annual observance of national Disabilities Awareness Month in October.
Dennehy, a resident of Ashland, Va., will be sharing his powerful message in the open-to-the-public presentation made possible by a grant through the Diversity for Equity program of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the Community and Technical College System.
Because George has overcome so many challenges in his own life, he says he believes that every individual has a purpose and absolutely anything is possible. People are surprised by his life story, including his brush with death in a Romanian orphanage, and his adoption by his U.S. family at the age of 1.
He says he started his musical journey by learning to play the cello at the age of 8. He advanced in classical music until he was able to play cello with regional orchestras. With the cello as his launching pad he has taught himself guitar, electric bass and basic piano. Regardless of the setting people in his audience relate that they are always inspired, deeply touched and often realize their own goals are very much within reach.
Dennehy gained worldwide attention last year after he posted a video of himself covering the Goo Goo Dolls song “Iris” on the web. His story went global and he received media coverage from as nearby as his own hometown, and as far away as London and Sydney. Gawker.com called George the “one man inspiration band.” Then an astonishing thing happened: The Goo Goo Dolls themselves saw the video and loved it. They invited George to share the stage with them and perform ‘Iris’ to an enthusiastic and excited crowd of 7,000 fans at Musikfest, an annual weeklong event held in Bethlehem, Pa.
According to his website, www.GeorgeDennehy.com, his career has continued to take off. CBS News.com named his video one of the “Best of 2012.” George had the opportunity to open for and play with award-winning Christian artist Jeremy Camp in Dallas. He was profiled in an Australian TV feature that had more than a million viewers. He traveled to his birth country of Romania to appear on live television and to have a surprise reunion with relatives, including four sisters he had never met.
There also have been trips to Nashville to record original music. George’s first song is titled “It’s a Gift” and the writers felt it was a perfect match for his life story. As for the song and its lyrical content, George says: “The song is so perfect for my message – life is a beautiful thing. Every life has meaning, purpose and worth.”
The performer says, “I don’t know what's next but I know it will be good because God says so. I want all of my friends to remember the main thing: You were made for a reason, you are unique and there is a purpose for your life. Have faith, and watch His plan unfold for you.”
Dennehy’s U.S. family is a living example of diversity: George has 11 brothers and sisters, three biological and nine adopted, and some of them are living with disabilities. The family represents five different nations besides the U.S.: Romania, China, Thailand, India and Ethiopia.