Detroit 2020 Person of the Week: Blind woman inspires others through music

Posted at 7:52 PM, Oct 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-13 19:52:41-04

A Livonia woman – who doctors thought would never walk or talk – is inspiring others with her amazing journey to independence.

The journey includes a toe-tapping talent she shares with others.

Autumn Marsh has an uncanny ear for music and can plunk out a tune on the piano even though she can’t even see the keys.

Autumn is blind, but that didn’t stop her from starting her own business – “Autumn’s Magical Music!”

The 27-year-old leads students in song three days a week at Jackson Early Childhood Center in Livonia.

“My favorite part of working is when they sing with me,” said Autumn.

Nancy Yoas -- one of Autumn’s teachers at Western Wayne Skill Center -- came up with the job idea.

“Our school has a talent show, and I watched Autumn playing the piano and singing. And it hit me. She’s going to create her own little thing where she’s going to be a visiting music lady,” recalled Yoas.

She said Autumn started volunteering four years ago, and last year the school hired her on.

 “All of the children that get to know Autumn by being in this center I think are going to grow up and be able to say, ‘Yeah, I knew someone who was blind, and she was amazing,’” said Yoas.

Autumn learned children’s music by watching videos on YouTube.  She can play more than 100 tunes by heart!

“We’re very proud of her,” said Sharon Marsh – Autumn’s Mother.   

Sharon and her husband Jerry adopted Autumn when she was 8 days old.  She’s one of their 8 children -- six are adopted.

Within months of bringing Autumn home, doctors delivered some tough news.

“The midline portion of her brain did not develop. And she would probably never walk or talk,” explained Sharon.

But after open heart surgery and a series of other health trials, Autumn made it through.  She started playing the piano when she was five!

“We got her into music lessons, and that was hard because we had to find a teacher who could teach a blind person how to play,” said her Dad Jerry Marsh.

And, boy, did she take to it.

Autumn also plays for seniors at American House during the summer months.

She was recently honored for her achievements by Community Living Services – a non-profit which supports people with disabilities.

Her next dream?  Being called for jury duty or being a 911 operator.

“She brings joy wherever she goes. And as parents, that’s very exciting to see,” said Sharon, beaming.

And that’s why Autumn Marsh is this week’s Detroit 2020 Person of the Week.

If you’d like to nominate someone for Person of the Week, please email your idea to Alicia Smith at