Duncan Holmes’ music warms the heart and nourishes the soul. Through his music, he speaks of life as he lives it every day – a life inclusive of joy, sorrow, frustration, occasional boredom and heaven-sent surprises. He will have you laughing, crying, and most of all, thinking and inspired.
Blind from birth, Duncan was involved with music throughout his education. Encouraged in music both at home and at the Maryland School for the Blind, he participated in numerous school organizations, founded a jazz combo “The Swingin’ Teens,” and received a number of outstanding achievement awards in piano and at the same time, took part in music festivals with other blind students throughout the East Coast.
In1963, at age 16, Duncan was introduced to a classmate who talked with him about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Of that time, Duncan says, “Before Jesus found me, I was at best a bitter, self-centered weakling. When I stopped resisting and let Him into my heart, He slowly began changing me in sometimes quiet, sometimes drastic, sometimes painful ways. He’s doing that still.”
Duncan received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Virginia (now Shenandoah University) where he was pianist for the jazz ensemble which performed at various college jazz festivals in the late 60’s. He was also the first blind student to tour with the All-student U.S.A. summer tour of Europe in 1968 as pianist for the vocal and instrumental jazz groups.
He received his Master of Music Education Degree from North Texas State University in Denton, Texas (now the University of North Texas).
After graduate school, Duncan teamed up with Calvin Marsh, a former Metropolitan Opera baritone, then working with Beth Sar Shalom, a Jewish-Christian mission organization. Together, they toured the U.S., singing in churches, schools, prisons, and on radio and TV appearing twice on the 700 Club.
Touring on his own for many years, Duncan shares his music and Christian testimony in churches, schools, college chapel services, prisons, and gatherings in private homes. In addition, he is the pianist for the Hill Country Evangelical Free Church, and also volunteers to play the piano for nursing homes in the area. Frequently, Duncan speaks to area schools about his blindness, or about his travels with a guide dog.