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SCHEDULING NOTE: Roundtable will air at 89.5 FM at 12:30 p.m. today, instead of noon.

INDEPENDENT LENS: For Once In My Life

Airs Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 10:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: The fourth standing ovation and final encore for the Spirit of Goodwill Band at the concert for the US Mayors convention held at the Adrienne Arscht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, 2009.

Terry Wigfall, lead vocalist and sax player, singing at concert for the US Mayors Convention 2009 with the Spirit of Goodwill Band.
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Above: Terry Wigfall, lead vocalist and sax player, singing at concert for the US Mayors Convention 2009 with the Spirit of Goodwill Band.

Mayor Manny Diaz and Emilio Estefan jam with the Band during a rehearsal scene in “For Once in My Life.”
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Above: Mayor Manny Diaz and Emilio Estefan jam with the Band during a rehearsal scene in “For Once in My Life.”

Meet the Spirit of Goodwill band — a unique assembly of singers and musicians who live with varying degrees of physical and mental disability. They bond over their mutual love of music, and their fierce drive to improve and play to ever-larger audiences.

The 29 members of the band live with everything from autism and Down syndrome, to blindness and other physical, mental, and developmental challenges. By day they work and socialize with one another at the Goodwill Industries of South Florida. That's also where they rehearse their music with an eye toward playing sophisticated venues and garnering mainstream respect and accomplishment.

As their music becomes tighter and more harmonious, so too do their lives — a testament to the healing and empowering power of music, participation, cooperation, and friendship.

“For Once In My Life” challenges preconceived notions of what it means to be disabled. By Jim Bigham and Mark Moormann.

"For Once In My Life" is on Facebook.

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Video Extra: Independent Lens: For Once In My Life

Above: What's happened to the Spirit of Goodwill band musicians since their big performance? Made up of 29 musicians and singers who all have severe mental and physical disabilities, the Spirit of Goodwill Band is a raucous home away from home where members are free to display their talent, humor, and tenacity. "For Once In My Life" challenges preconceived notions of what it means to be disabled.

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Video Excerpt: Independent Lens: For Once In My Life

Above: Percussionist Melissa's mother has no regrets about how she raised her daughter. Made up of 29 musicians and singers who all have severe mental and physical disabilities, the Spirit of Goodwill Band is a raucous home away from home where members are free to display their talent, humor, and tenacity. "For Once In My Life" challenges preconceived notions of what it means to be disabled.

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