Drumming teacher, student bond over loss of vision

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BRIDGEPORT -

Two Fairfield County natives have much in common despite never seeing each other, and their love of music has helped create a special friendship.

Nate Barnes has rhythm in his blood, having come from a musical family. He started playing drums as a toddler, although he lost sight in his left eye when he was 3 years old and lost sight in his right eye when he was 10.

"I wrote music, produced music, done soundtrack work with many different artists," he says.

Barnes started teaching when he was 13, teaching different styles and disciplines to children like 12-year-old Jimmy Gilpin, who lost his vision when he was 3.

For the past two years, laughter has been the soundtrack of their time together.

"It's fun," Barnes says. "He keeps me on my toes."

"We both know what it's like to go through life being blind," Gilpin says.

It's been a learning experience for both of them.

"He actually inspires me to be better," says Barnes.

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