Moore’s vision: Singing, writing, playing

A biography of SHANNON MOORE ’05 could start out like the story of hundreds of girls who grew up playing piano and singing. Shannon began playing piano at a young age, took lessons, and then shifted her focus to choir in high school. The difference came when, at age 17, an eye specialist delivered some heart-stopping news, “One day you’ll be blind.” The diagnosis was ocular histoplasmosis, a fungal infection.*

Listen to Moore’s songs I knew you well and Captain.

“I didn’t really process what he was saying,” recalls Shannon, now 30. Legally blind for the past eight years, Shannon hasn’t allowed failing eyesight to hinder her music life. She writes music, is recording a solo album, and recently joined a band, The Dirty Gentlemen. She uses her Bradley English degree to promote the local indie music scene. In 2010, she lived in New York City for eight months, writing for a music blog.

Shannon is almost blind in her left eye; her right eye has what she calls “missing information.” Her peripheral vision is intact, but the central vision is “smudged” in that eye. “It’s frustrating not being able to see faces,” she says. “I feel comfortable onstage though. It’s like being in my own world. Often I would close my eyes to play anyway.” 

Shannon’s love of music began at age 3; her parents bought a used upright when she expressed an interest in piano. As a kindergartener, she began taking lessons at Bradley. She was able to play by ear, and the Suzuki method taught by Anna Nogaj reinforced that talent. Later, as a student at Limestone High School, it was singing and drama that captivated her. At Bradley, Shannon concentrated on her English studies, but her interest in music never waned. “Sometimes between classes, I would sneak upstairs in Constance Hall and play in the practice rooms for hours. Sometimes I’d miss class,” she recalls.

“I was a creative writing minor, and I still write,” Shannon says. “Songwriting is one of the forms that comes most naturally to me.” Two of her favorites are I Knew You Well and Make No Mistake, This is a Message

— Gayle Erwin McDowell ’77

*H. capsulatu, the fungus that causes histoplasmosis, grows in soil and material that is contaminated with bat or bird droppings. Spores become airborne when contaminated soil is disturbed. —Centers for Disease Control