It’s not every day you see the words “music” and “Deafness” paired together in such harmony. Actually, it may sound downright out of place for those who aren’t familiar with Deaf, hard of hearing or special needs populations.

Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf has witnessed the astounding effects of music therapy and improved literacy first-hand – and they’re personally inviting you into their world.

On Wednesday, June 22, from 6 – 8PM, the Mill Neck Family of Organizations, along with actress and director Trudie Styler and Sting, is hosting an exclusive evening called “Rhythm and Reds,” a wine tasting featuring vintages from their Tuscan estate, Il Palagio, and food pairing event to benefit the Mill Neck Manor Music Endowment Fund for children and adults who are Deaf and have other special needs.

Guests will have opportunities to bid on silent auction items, including a Fender Precision Bass Guitar autographed by Sting; dinner for 10; the evening’s featured wines; an autographed selection of Sting’s albums and much more. While the event is sold out, online auction bidding begins on May 16 at 10 a.m. at millneck.org.

The upcoming event will be held at the historic Mill Neck Manor House, a circa 1923, Tudor Revival mansion at 40 Frost Mill Road in Mill Neck. Attendees will partake in a special wine tasting of four vintage red wines: “When We Dance,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Casino delle Vie” and “Sister Moon,” all produced at Il Palagio – Trudie and Sting’s sprawling 865-acre Tuscan estate. The April 2016 issue of Wine Spectator features Trudie and Sting on its cover and a 9-page story on their award-winning wines and beautiful Italian home. Guests will also enjoy a variety of delectable hors d’oeuvres created by celebrated Long Island chef/restaurateur Tom Schaudel.

When it comes to literacy, Deaf children have the odds stacked against them from the time they are born. Deaf infants begin life in a soundless world with the unimaginable task of trying to make sense of what is happening around them. By school age, most Deaf children’s language skills are significantly behind their hearing peers and the gap tends to widen as time goes by. Mill Neck was pleased to find studies that show music can act as a powerful tool to positively affect oral language development and increase other literacy skills.

“Rhythm and Reds” was launched to foster awareness of the significant connection between music and literacy skills and create continued support of this important educational endeavour. And this remarkable connection extends beyond just the Deaf population. Mill Neck’s Early Childhood Center, which consists of 3- and 4-year-old children who have intense communication issues, such as speech/language delays and disorders, cognitive and motor deficits and autism-related disorders, are also profoundly affected by the influence of music and literacy.

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