Harry's a man about town

Harry Gorman has developed a large social network using his huge open smile and unique sense of humour.

Harry Gorman has developed a large social network using his huge open smile and unique sense of humour.

HARRY Gorman is quite the man about town and if you've been to a few social events in Balranald or Swan Hill recently, chances are you've rubbed shoulders with him.

But Harry isn't limiting himself to the Mallee, at 24 he's already experienced a broad taste of international travel.

Counting them off on his fingers, he lists New York, London, Paris, Las Vegas and Canada as some of his highlights.

But his biggest trip might still be yet to come.

Harry has been selected as one of only 30 applicants to take part in a music camp in Nashville Tennessee - a camp for people with Williams Syndrome - and a chance to tap into his love of music.

"I love music, pop music mostly, but I just enjoy it all," he said.

"I love dancing and moving to the music and I really understand the songs.

"Music is definitely a big part of my life."

What many people might not realise is that Harry's larger than life personality and passion for music are gifts of his disability.

According to the Williams Syndrome Association it is described as a genetic condition present at birth. It is associated with physical and developmental problems including cardiovascular disease and learning disabilities.

It is caused by deletion of genetic material from chromosome 7. The deleted area includes more than 25 genes and individuals can vary in the amount of genetic material deleted. For Harry, he has a higher than average number of deleted genes.

But more importantly, people with Williams Syndrome often have advanced communication skills, are highly sociable and have a deep love of music.

Scientists are still researching where this musical affinity comes from and how it can help them overcome their challenges.

Harry's mum Adrienne tapped into the strengths of Williams Syndrome when Harry was very young and linked him into music from the age of four.

Growing up on a Balranald farm had it's benefits for Harry but his flambouyant personality is probably better suited to the catwalks of Paris.

"The farm is ok because I have my own car and I can drive it on our property," he said.

"But I don't like the chooks because I got attacked by an aggressive rooster when I was little and I'm petrified of them now.

"I am quite isolated from my friends but I do a lot of activities.

"My ideal job would be something in fashion and designer labels - I love fashion."

Embarking upon any new career would be time challenging due to his busy schedule.

"On Monday's I am at Hocus Focus Media (HFM) learning about film making and on Tuesday's I go out to Tafe."

"On Wednesday I do expressive arts where I get to sing and dance and I also volunteer at the sports store and book store in Balaranld."

If that's not enough, Harry also films the Balranald Football Club's home games for the CMFNL during winter.

With Nashville considered the music capital of the world and home to country music the camp can't help but have a bluegrass focus.

A hectic rate of activities and workshops led by some of the worlds best music artists will lead the campers through rehearsals to a huge final performance at The Grand Ole Opry.

"I'm excited definately, but I'm also very nervous," Harry said.

"I mean, it's Nashville after all and I don't know what to expect.

"I'm not sure how people will react to me because I am an Aussie and a lot of them will be American.

"But mum and dad are travelling with me so that makes me feel better."

A lack of confidence is something Harry readily admits but you wouldn't know it by meeting him. He's a natural story teller who can turn the most mundane tale into a hilarious yarn.

Never one to pull a punch, he softens the blow with his humour and gigantic smile and never means to offend anyone.

"Sometimes I just say stuff and don't think about it," he said.

"I don't know why, it just pops out and I can't stop it."

Harry's foray into entertainment is extensive. He's taken lead roles in local musical theatre productions and his work with HFM often sees him placed in front of the camera.

"We get to learn all aspects of film making from the story planning, writing, filming and organising costumes," he said.

"But I like performing best.

"I just seem to come alive in front of the camera, it makes me feel good and I love hearing what other people thought about my performance."

Harry is in pre-production stage of three films this year. The first is an emotional look at youth suicide prevention, the second is a thriller in which he stars and the third is his own series of short documentaries around fashion. 

"I love giving people advice and I love designer labels," he said.

"But I will also be showing people how to look snappy on a budget and will be doing some Op Shop ensembles so there will be something for everyone."

To view some of Harry's work visit the Hocus Focus Media Facebook page. 

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