Portrait of Florence woman in Down Syndrome Society screens in Times Square

  • Lucie Pasche (center right) sings with The Friendship Band during a performance in December 2019. The image of Pasche will be featured this Sunday in Times Square in New York City as a part of an annual video showcase for the National Down Syndrome Society.  Photo by Isabella Dell'olio

Staff Writer 
Published: 9/19/2020 5:52:49 PM

Last winter, Lucie Pasche, a 29-year-old woman with Down syndrome, was singing with her musical group The Friendship Band when photographer Isabella Dell’olio took a photo of her mid-performance. On Sunday, that photo was screened in Times Square in New York City from 12:40 to 12:50 p.m. as part of the National Down Syndrome Society’s annual video presentation.

Dell’olio’s photograph of Pasche was originally part of Springfield-based social services organization Pathlight’s “Portraits Project,” an exhibit of 30 portraits of people with disabilities. It was later submitted and accepted to be part of the National Down Syndrome Society’s annual event in Times Square, which features a compilation video of photos of adults and children with Down syndrome from across the country. 

Dell’olio, a 50-year-old resident of Amherst, said what struck her about the photo she took was how she was able to capture Pasche’s natural charisma onstage. 

“I feel really confident and proud,” Pasche said of singing in front of an audience. She’s been singing in the band for almost a year, after singing in choir during her middle and high school years. The Friendship Band plays original music and has two vocalists, drums, bass and guitar. 

Joanne Lucey, Pasche’s mother, said the photo series being screened in Times Square showcases the talents, hobbies and skills of people with Down syndrome like her daughter. 

“I like the event because it shows people doing what they do in their daily life and it shows what inclusion means,” said Lucey, who lives with her daughter in Florence. “If you like to sing in a band, go sing in a band. It doesn’t have to be a specialized band. It just needs to be a situation where you’re given the opportunity to be who you are and showcase your talents.” 

Dell’olio said she spent time photographing Pasche and the rest of the band during their rehearsals last fall, leading up to a Christmas bash where she captured the photo that will be featured in New York. 

“It makes me feel really good about it because it really shows how Lucie loves to sing. It really shows what she loves to do,” Dell’olio said. “I love to photograph people, all people. My aim is to really show who they are or what they like to do, and/or the connections with average people. I think in these photographs you can really see all that. It makes me really happy.” 

Knowing that her photograph will be featured at Times Square makes her feel honored, she said. 

“I am even more happy for Lucie,” she said. “I can only imagine how she feels about it. She must be so happy. And then it’s great for Pathlight and great for the community.” 

To learn more, visit the National Down Syndrome Society’s Facebook page at facebook.com/NDSS1979.  

Chris Goudreau can be reached at cgoudreau@gazettenet.com. 
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