For Once in My Life

Trailer (:28)
Clip 1 (1:36)
Clip 2 (2:34)
Clip 3 (3:06)

About the Film

Christian practices on his electronic keyboard. Christian
Lead singer and saxophonist Terry Wigfall sings into the microphone, with his sax resting by its strap on his shoulder. Terry
Bandleader Javier Pena leans on a music stand and smiles at the camera. Music Director Javier Pena

Meet the Spirit of Goodwill band — a unique assembly of singers and musicians who live with varying degrees of physical and mental disability. They bond over their mutual love of music, and their fierce drive to improve and play to ever-larger audiences.

The 29 members of the band live with everything from autism and Down syndrome, to blindness and other physical, mental, and developmental challenges. By day they work and socialize with one another at the Goodwill Industries of South Florida. That's also where they rehearse their music with an eye toward playing sophisticated venues and garnering mainstream respect and accomplishment. As their music becomes tighter and more harmonious, so too do their lives — a testament to the healing and empowering power of music, participation, cooperation, and friendship.

Terry, the blind lead singer and saxophone player who was dropped when he was fourteen months old never fully recovered physically. But emotionally, he is determined and inspirational, fighting through setbacks and frustrations as he prepares to unleash his voice in front of a live audience.

Christian, who has autism and is blind, reveals himself to be a gifted pianist. Even through a slight stutter, he eloquently describes his wish to become a famous musician beloved by the whole world.

Nancy, a character with her thick New York accent and sense of humor, is the high-functioning but developmentally delayed soprano in the band. She works at Goodwill and cares for her two mentally disabled siblings.

Sam's mother tried to conceal her pregnancy after he was conceived, and as a result, he suffers from physical and mental issues that occasionally cause him to fly into a rage. A drummer, he is serious about his music and his life, and recently proposed to one of the vocalists, Patricia.

As they, Music Director Javier Pena, and the rest of the band struggle to prepare for a huge public concert, some have difficulty coping with the pressure or the pace of learning. But they support each other in a united effort to prove themselves as human beings and musicians.

The Filmmakers

Filmmaker Jim Bigham looks into the camera.

Jim Bigham was producer of feature film SweetLand for which he received the 2007 Independent Spirit Award for best feature. Other credits include Great Expectations, Jeepers Creepers, Bad Boys, and Body Heat.

Filmmaker Mark Moormann smiles while holding a video camera.

Mark Moormann’s documentary work includes the Grammy-nominated Tom Dowd & the Language of Music, Once Upon a Time on South Beach, Hidden Rivers of the Maya, and Blindsided.