by Kathleen Valcour
After living 27 years in Marin, we moved to Sacramento to be closer to family. My mother was going through the last stages of her life due to breast cancer. She passed at the age of 90. Our daughter Pagette lived in Sacramento and wanted us close for her family needs. Pagette has been an amazing positive influence on Michael throughout his life. This change must have been difficult for Michael. Nevertheless, he joined the Music Department at Cosumnes River College. Again he excelled and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Society International order. He became a member of The Media Access Office North, which is affiliated with The Governor's Committee for the Employment of Diabled Persons. Also he became a member of Actors for Autism. After singing for several open mic opportunities at The Joey Travolta Family theatre, he was chosen to be the closer at their fundraiser in Hollywood. Michael sang three inspirational songs. This organization appears to be inactive now. At the time of these performances, we met Keri Bowers, who was blown away by Michael's talent. Great promises were made but little came of it.
During this time, a tragedy struck in the form of Katrina. My husband's family, long standing members of the Creole community, were hit hard in New Orleans. the devastation scattered them all over the country. The first few weeks were desperate as we tried to locate someone, anyone! The lines of communication were down. Finally, a niece remembered our web site. My husband, Arnold, arranged for his sister, Lorraine to come live with us. She was partially paralyzed due to a stroke and her daughters needed time to set up living quarters. Of course, this was a painful occurrence that affected Michael and the entire family. Michael remained singing at fundraisers and unique events.
My feeling about Michael, as we continue our journey, is that of "pride and concern" as stated by Beth Ashley of the Marin Independent Journal. This is what I felt when he responded to Sesame Street songs, allowing him to recite the alphabet and count to 20 at the age of 18 months, but had no other vocabulary. Despite his tremendous growth, these feelings still apply to this day. There is a special joy that I treasure. Wherever, whatever the event Michael has sung, I have been approached by individuals who are truly soulfully touched by Michael's performance. What he is like today was well put by reporter Megan Wood, of the Rosefille & Granite Bys KPress Tribune: "There's something about being on stage that transforms Michael Valcour.
"Under the bright lights of the Magic Circle Theatre, Valcour speaks with purpose, dances with ease and sings with complete confidence.
"Offstage, he becomes quiet, standoffish, and has difficulty with the rhythm and comprehension of everyday conversation.
"Onstage, you would never guess that the 37-year-old with a powerful singing voice has autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects one in every 150 American children.
"We feel somehow, somewhere, that Michael should be heard big time, because in reality he should be the "Super Star" he aspires to be."
Michael has appeared in the Winter and Summer Operas at the College of Marin, in addition to numerous galas and fund raisers. Michael has also received many honors for his volunteer work as a music teacher, including being recognized as the "1989 Volunteer of the Year" by the California Legislature and being awarded for his "Outstanding Community Services" by the Volunteer Center of Marin.