Signing With Harry Styles at the One Direction Concert

This is a guest post from my daughter, Lauren Putz,  and her friend, Lauren Holtz: 

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Lauren Holtz and Lauren Putz

We'd been waiting for more than a year since we'd bought our tickets for the One Direction concert. As we are both deaf and speak American Sign Language (ASL) fluently, we knew we wanted to translate all their songs into ASL and sign the songs for them at the concert. Both of us have hearing losses in the moderate to severe and profound range, so we use hearing aids and a cochlear implant to help us hear the music. Still though, we spent months carefully listening to each song, matching up the lyrics with the timing of the music so we could coordinate our signs to each song. We went in ready to sign every song and have fun with our five favorite guys, but we had no idea how special the night would become to both of us.
We got into the arena where One Direction was going to play and met our sign language interpreters (Karen Aguilar and Shelley Engstrom), who were there to help us understand what the boys said in between songs. Much to our delight, we were moved to the front row so as to see our interpreters (who stood in a blindingly bright spotlight--difficult to miss) better.

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Our interpreter, Karen Aguilar

As soon as the boys came out, we couldn't believe how close they were. They weren't in pictures through a screen anymore, and the jolt at realizing how real they were was probably one of our favorite moments of the night. Until the second song, anyway.

 

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From the first song on, we were signing all the songs and in the spotlight it was pretty easy to notice. We could see the boys kind of glancing over, perhaps wondering what the interpreter was doing there--but in the middle of I Would, we got the best surprise. While we were signing the chorus, Harry came over to stand in front of us and signed "thank you." We looked at each other and screamed; we had no idea any of the boys knew any sign language so we were completely blown away.

After it sank in (though to be honest, it still hasn't fully registered) that Harry Styles had told us "thank you" in sign language, our energy just shot through the roof.  The boys continued to walk over to our side of the stage,  and not less than two songs later, Harry had signed his thanks again, bigger and clearer this time so he was sure we didn't miss it. Then our night got even better, with Harry coming over and copying our signs for the choruses in "One Thing," "Back for You," and "Over Again," where he signed "thank you" one last time.
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 In all the excitement, the time flew by. The boys took their bows and took one last look out at the screaming crowd before leaving, ending the concert. We were cheering and signing 'I love you,' in awe of what had happened in the last three hours. As the last strand of red confetti fell to the ground and people began leaving, we realized our night with One Direction was over. We just sat down in shock and recounted every time Harry had signed with us and we possibly let a few tears slip out too. It was an unbelievable night of magic for us. Thank you, Harry. You knowing that bit of sign language and making sure we had a great time means the world to us!
And if it's true that Louis Tomlinson is going deaf, maybe the rest of the band picking up a few signs would benefit him as well?
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