special guests

 
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Justin Osmond, Master of Ceremonies

Justin Osmond is the youngest son of Merrill Osmond, lead singer of the world-famous Osmond family band. He was diagnosed at the age of 2 with a 90 percent hearing loss, but after 12 years of intense speech and listening therapy, he can now speak with the assistance of hearing amplification technology. Despite his profound hearing loss, Justin learned to play several musical instruments, including the violin, achieved several athletic titles in soccer, football, baseball and track, earned sterling scholarships in music and academics and received his master’s degree in Business Administration. Today, Justin tours the world with his seminar, “Embracing Our Limitations,” which illustrates his personal struggles with severe-to-profound hearing loss in a famous musical family.

 
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Former Secretary William Cohen

From his very first days in Washington, Secretary William Cohen was singled out as a future American leader. In 1974, during his very first term in Congress, TIME magazine named him as one of "America's 200 Future Leaders," and the following year the US Junior Chamber of Commerce named him one of the "Ten Outstanding Young Men in America."

Additionally, President Clinton asked Secretary Cohen to lead the Department of Defense, the first time in modern U.S. history when a President has chosen an elected official from the other party to be a member of his cabinet.

After 31 years of public service, Secretary Cohen leaves behind a record of unparalleled accomplishment, integrity, and respect, and takes with him unrivaled knowledge, reputation, and relationships, across America and around the globe.

 
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Rebecca Alexander, Guest Speaker

Rebecca Alexander is an author, psychotherapist, group fitness instructor, advocate, and extreme athlete who is almost completely blind and deaf. Despite losing much of her sight and hearing as a teenager due to Usher Syndrome Type III, she now has a flourishing full-time psychotherapy practice with two master’s degrees from Columbia University in Clinical Social Work and Public Health. Rebecca has been honored with numerous awards including the Foundation Fighting Blindness Hope and Spirit Award (2015), the American Foundation for the Blind Helen Keller Achievement Award (2016), the Disability Rights Advocates Eagle Award (2017), No Limits for Deaf Children Spirit of Leadership Award (2017), and the University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award (2017). Rebecca’s latest accomplishment - her critically acclaimed memoir, Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found - received an Indie Book Award and was honored as one of the MS Society’s Books For A Better Life.

 
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Shirley Caesar, Gospel Singer

Shirley Caesar is a giant in the world of spiritual music, winning the title "the First Lady of Gospel Music" thanks to a multi-decade career, winning 11 Grammy Awards and 15 Dove Awards. She’s appeared on-stage in the gospel musical “Mama” and the “I Want to Sing” trilogy, in the films The Fighting Temptations and Why Do Fools Fall in Love, and the TV show The Parkers. Alongside her breathtaking musical career, she completed her business degree at Shaw University, participated on the Durham City Council, and launched the Shirley Caesar Outreach Ministries in 1969 to help serve the needs of the people of Durham, North Carolina.

 
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ARIA

As good mates, Scott Fields, Craig Hendry, John Nicholson and Jason Short spent much of the 2000s traveling the world with acclaimed Australian vocal group, The Ten Tenors. Having performed in over 25 countries around the world and more than 250 shows per year, they decided to go their separate ways. As luck would have it, they all ended up in the USA, and (to cut a long and nap-inducing story short) the lads reunited in 2012 to perform for a once-off charity gala in Texas. One gig turned into two, two into three, and before long, they realized that they’d stumbled onto something pretty special. Thus, ARIA (Aussies Reunited in America) was born.

Their four unique voices combine to bring an entertaining blend of pop with a sprinkle of opera, exploiting the versatility and range that each of them brings to ARIA. They offer a modern, amusing twist on a classical sound, never taking themselves too seriously. These lads bring limitless musical possibilities with a dash of Aussie charm.