Bill and Eli' Perras
Musicians, Singer/Songwriters, Activists
up in the northeast, Eli' on Long Island, New York and Bill in Northbridge,
Massachusetts, they both had passions for music. Eli' would sit on the
sand dunes of Long Island Sound beach and write poetry to the rhythm
of the waves in the ocean. She also studied modern dance at Patty Ossmith's
House of Dance continuing throughout her high school and early college
years. She has participated in smaller hometown theatrical productions
"Porgy and Bess".
Bill attended a vocational school in Massachusetts to study drafting
and engineering, and summer of his freshman year he would spend time
with an older cousin who played guitar and mandolin on the streets of
Boston. Bob Comtois introduced Bill to the music of Tom Rush, Dave Van
Ronk, and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. He would play in several garage
bands prior to moving to Florida in 1978.
As a divorced, single mom, Eli' and her small family moved to Orlando
in the early 1980's where she would meet Bill who was working as a PCB
Design Engineer in Winter Park. Eli' was raising three children with
help from her foster mom (two girls and one boy, born very premature,
blind and deaf) Her energies were required 24-7. Her focus was concentrated
on changing laws or at least testing the ones in place to help her son
receive services badly needed for his development. She has spoken at
Valencia College encouraging funding and support from the local communities.
She has visited with Ex-Governor Bob Graham, and appeared on Local 6
News with Carol Nelson concerning Disabled Children's Needs.
When Eli and Bill got together, they often discussed music as he would
play a beautiful 73' Gibson Hummingbird guitar he owned, but once their
relationship moved forward and they married, Bill put the guitar down
to her raise the family. Despite several setbacks and life changes for
Eli' herself, She now faced a double mastectomy and needed placement
for Adam, now a teenager with behavioral management issues escalating,
in a group home.
Eli's surgery changed everyone's life. After proper placement for Adam
was finally available through Devereux Services, and Eli' healed, Bill
& Eli traveled the state of Florida, now volunteering at Florida's
local festivals, listening to the different genre's of music showcased.
On occasions, Bill would stop in to listen to folk musicians at local
acoustic music venues. After hearing acoustic blues master, Roy Bookbinder
perform at Leu Gardens, who played in the "Piedmont Blues"
style, which Bill hadn't heard in years, Bill was hooked, and began
practicing guitar again.
As therapy, Eli began writing poems. Her first poem "Mama's Bank
Account" was written from her personal heartache that helped her
succeed and preserve. Bill would put a lullaby melody to it and their
dream was realized. Together they have written over 30 songs, covering
everything from a Mother's Love to Harry T. Moore's unsolved murder,
with many other topics of ecological, social and harmonious content
in between. They have recorded 4 CD's. They are presently working on
a new production. Their music allows them to travel throughout the state
of Florida and outside her borders. They have been featured at many
of the States' annual festivals, including the Florida Folk Festival,
in White Springs and continue to do so.
Bill has been a multi-ribbon winner on guitar at the Florida Old Time
State Championships and has taught at the Sunshine State Music Camp
in St Petersburg and together were finalist in the prestigious South
Florida Songwriters contest. Together they have met some of Florida's
own living legends like Stetson Kennedy, who congratulated them on continuing
his work for equality. Over the years they have moved to several different
areas of Florida due to Bill's profession. While in Tallahassee they
met Sir Charles Atkins an FSU Professor of Blues, who befriended them,
encouraged their musical talents and praises their many accomplishments.
Eli continues to take ESE correspondence courses from John Tracy School
for the Deaf and Blind, The Hadley School for the Blind. With Bill,
she continues to collaborate and create music that changes hearts, open
minds, and educates. Leaving a lasting impression of hope for a better
tomorrow. Bill and Eli' Perras live in DeLand where she works at DeLand
High in the Multi-VE Dept., and he's is a PCB Designer at Sparton Electronics
in Deleon Springs.
Had a Dream
Nightwind and Ben
Orlando Folk Fest
Orlando Plaza Theatre
South Florida FolkFest
With Stetson Kennedy
Will McLean Music Fest
Click to enlarge hemage
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