Blind musician overcomes adversity to audition for Bananas Band


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Ever since he stepped inside Grayson Stadium with his South Effingham High School band, Austin Wegmann made it his mission to join the Savannah Bananas family.

“Being in the [Bananas] band would be fun because I’m all about playing and their energy seems good whenever I’ve heard them before,” he explained.

Austin, who has been blind since age 4, got his chance to try out for the Bananas Band at Grayson Stadium Saturday morning.

“He knows the odds are against him,” Stephanie Wegmann, Austin’s mom, said. “He knows the chances are slim, but he never gives up.”

Growing up, Austin struggled to find hobbies that fit his needs. That all changed in fifth grade when he played music for the first time.

“It helps me get my feelings out whenever I’m feeling something,” Austin explained. “I’ll go back and check the time, it will feel like it’s been five to 10 minutes, and it’s been 30 to 40!”

The Mustangs sophomore quickly rose up the band ranks in high school. On top of his role with the marching band, Austin placed in the accelerated music class at South Effingham High.

“Once Austin started band is when he found himself,” his mom said. “With his trumpet in his hand, he’s in his element.”

Wegmann said the outside world could see his talent. But, the night before Bananas tryouts, her son still had doubts.

“His dad told him ‘Son, you are never going to get anything if you try,'” she remembered. “It’s an opportunity to explain to him that if you really want something you have to work for it.”

The Mustangs sophomore overcame the pre-audition nerves and put on a show Saturday. Leaving the stadium, with his head held high, Austin had a message for blind kids who may be discouraged by the odds or what others are saying.

“Use it as motivation to prove that you can do it.”

Austin is determined to prove a diagnosis won’t determine who he is as a person. His mom said she couldn’t be any prouder.

“He’s mastered the art of rejection, but he never gives up,” Wegmann said with a smile. “How can you not be proud? He doesn’t let anything deter him it doesn’t matter what it is. If he wants to do it he’s going to figure out a way.”

Austin wants to start a YouTube channel to help people understand his experience as a blind person. He plans to post videos here.

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