For more information about Tourette Syndrome, please visit The Tourette Association of America at www.tourette.org
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My name is Brendan DeBonis, aka Debo, and I am a 19 year old multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. At age 3, I had an imaginary friend. That's not so unusual for a little kid, except that my friend was named Janis Joplin. My family tells me how they'd crack up as I told wild stories of Janis following me around the yard, acting crazy. According to little me, she lived behind our garage and was always getting into trouble.
I got my first real guitar (1/2 size acoustic) on my 2nd birthday after growing tired of my toy guitars. Next came my first tiny drum set. From then on, I was making up songs. My first songwriting attempts were never-ending, toddler train-of-thought (for example, two of my first songs were titled "Mr. Yuck" and "Allergy Medicine"). Since then, I think I've improved my technique a bit. It's always a work in progress.
As a year-long integrative research project for my senior year of high school, I wrote a one-act musical about Tourette Syndrome, based loosely on my own diagnosis with TS at age 12. We performed THE BEST OF ME in front of a full house at my high school and also at "An Evening with Four Playwrights" at Try It Out Theatre in Columbia, MD. Below is a link to the full 20 min. performance.
Never Wanna Leave, Change Pace, The Truth Will Never Die, Can't Feel My Face
THE BEST OF ME is a one-act musical that tells the story of Bernard, a middle school student who is newly diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. The musical begins with the upbeat opening number, Advanceman Middle, which sets the scene in a middle school. Bernard has been feeling distracted and out of sorts lately and his friends, teacher, and principal are noticing new symptoms that they can't quite make sense of. Bernard visits a doctor/therapist, who explains to him what Tourette Syndrome is in the rap song, Diagnosis. The doctor gives him behavioral therapy techniques to practice to manage his symptoms. He struggles to adjust and shares his efforts and frustration in the ballad, Counteract. In the end, he finds effective ways to deal with his challenges and, ultimately, accepts the diagnosis as a part of who he is, proclaiming in the rock finale, Wired, "It's how I'm wired and I like how I'm wired!"