"It's their show," she says. "They don't understand ADA. The idea is for a deaf person to see both of us at the same time. If I'm off to the side, they have to make a choice — us or the band."

Over the course of her career, Freeman's gotten to play guitar with the Barenaked Ladies, dance with Tim McGraw (the only time, she reports, she's ever forgotten how to sign) and sign obscenities with Rob Zombie. ("He wanted to see what the sign-language lady would do. I'm glad my daughters weren't there.")

The best part, though, is watching her audience.

Loretta Freeman: "You try to represent the rhythm and the emotion in your interpretation."
Jennifer Silverberg
Loretta Freeman: "You try to represent the rhythm and the emotion in your interpretation."

"It's amazing to see deaf individuals who have never been exposed to music before," she says. "I love to see their reaction. When the B-52s played Live on the Levee, there were 40 deaf people who were laughing and enjoying it as much as anyone else. They were getting just as crazy as the band was. It was like, 'Rock lo-ah-bster!'" — she sings and signs, making a fist and then snapping her fingers together. "The deaf people loved it."

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