Article excerpt from All Things Considered interview with Essence Goldman, Published on NPR
‘He Wants To Be Remembered’: Tiny Desk Contestant Finds His Voice While Fighting ALS
A couple of years ago, Bernie Dalton was a strong, physically fit, 40-something-year-old surfer. Every morning, he would get up at 4 A.M. to watch the sunrise in Santa Cruz, Calif. Bernie wasn’t a musician at the time, but he was passionate about music. His lifelong dream was to record an album.
Bernie had just started voice lessons with his teacher, Essence Goldman, when he received the diagnosis that he had bulbar-onset ALS, an aggressive form of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Doctors told him he had maybe a few years to live, and that he would lose most of his bodily functions well before that.
“It was time to get my butt in gear,” he says through an Eye Gaze Device at the beginning of his Tiny Desk Contest entry video, complete with an ultra-tiny desk and a copy of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time on it. “I could no longer speak or sing, so I asked my singing teacher, Essence, to become my voice.”