Singing
Little girl melts hearts signing during Christmas concert so her deaf parents can follow along
She captured the hearts of millions on the internet.
D.G. Sciortino
11.30.22

Claire Koch was very proud to be performing in her Christmas concert.

Her enthusiasm made her the breakout star among her fellow classmates.

But she wasn’t there to just show off. She wanted to make sure everyone in her family could enjoy the concert.

The 5-year-old’s parents are deaf.

So, Claire made sure to use sign language while she was singing so that she could spell out the lyrics to her parents Lori and Thomas.

While Lori can read lips and speak, Thomas only uses sign language.

So, Claire wanted to make sure dad followed the entire song about Santa set to the tune of “B-I-N-G-O.”

She signed along to several holiday songs while her classmates sang. Claire actually knew sign language before she knew how to speak.

Signing is her first language.

The Clearwater family took a video of Claire brightly signing in the front row while her fellow students used generic hand motions.

They posted it on YouTube to raise awareness about true sign language.

It only took a few days for that video to go viral and be seen around the world.

That video now has more than 10 million views.

The parents had a very specific reason for uploading the clip.

They did so after a sign language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela memorial was accused of being a fraud.

“My 5-year-old signed even better for her deaf parents in an xmas show,” Lori tweeted.

The family wanted to show others how real sign language is done.

“It became obvious he was making things up. He was repeating the same hand movements so it was obvious he was a fake,” the couple said.

“It was just totally deflating for deaf people, like saying deaf people are not important. This is a famous man who did so much for many people.”

Claire went viral about five years later when she was scuba certified just like her parents.

She likes to sign underwater to communicate with them.

“If we have problems that we don’t have a dive sign for, it’s easier if we use sign language instead,” Claire said.

Her dad is the world’s first deaf diving instructor.

“When I teach, I stay in the water the whole time. Just sign the whole time. Talk talk talk talk. We can talk about baseball games, hockey games underwater,” said her dad, Thomas.

A video of Claire and dad scuba diving and singing ended up going viral too.

But it’s her Christmas singing and signing that has warmed millions of hearts.

“Wow. Beautiful inside and out. They raised her well. And she’s got beautiful hair too,” wrote one commenter.

“I think it would have been very nice for the teacher to have her teach the song in sign language to the whole class, then they all could have done it together and it would have introduced the children to a new language” said another.

Watch Claire’s Christmas concert in the video below.

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By D.G. Sciortino
[email protected]
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at [email protected]
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