When Carlos Ibay arrived in the world, he was blind and weighed only 1 pound, 14 ounces. Today the Fairfax resident is an acclaimed tenor and concert pianist who has performed in 21 states and seven countries, from Carnegie Hall in the United States to the Teatro Storchi in Italy. His Christmas concert is Dec. 23 at St. Michael Parish in Annandale.
Do you consider yourself to be of a specific faith?
I'm a devout Roman Catholic. What I like about my faith is that we have the luxury of worshipping every day, not like other Christian denominations that only have services on Sundays. We as Catholics are blessed to have Mass every single day.
You describe music as a "gift from God." How has this gift shaped your life?
Music has really shaped my life because from a very early age, I was playing the piano and singing, and my mom thought I would just have that in the house to pass the time, just not be lonely, but she didn't know it would lead to this. This gift of music shaped my life because I can share this gift with all of God's people and make them happy.
Many people facing disability can become resentful toward God. Have you questioned him about your blindness? What conclusions have you come to?
I have not. I have not questioned God about my sight, although I have prayed that I could see, and he hasn't granted me sight yet. Although, I have to tell you, I think the reason I am blind is that God made me this way as in John 9, in the story of the man who was born blind. The disciples ask Jesus, "Who sinned -- him or his parents?" Jesus said that this happened so all of God's works could be shone forth. That's exactly why I think God made it happen this way. I don't resent being blind. A lot of people tell me what a blessing it is to be blind -- I don't see all the evil in the world happening around me.
You've performed all over the world. How do you stay humble?
Through prayer. Every place I go, the first thing I look for is a Catholic church. Before I look for a hotel, I look for a Catholic church so I can go to Mass.
Has your faith influenced your approach to music?
Yes. I think when people listen to my music, they feel the love of God in every note that I play and sing.
What is the message you want to send at your Christmas concert?
The most important thing is that through this concert, with the help of God's grace, I hope to bring peace and joy and love to all of mankind.
At your core, what is one of your defining beliefs?
I believe of course in God and Jesus and the blessed mother and the intercession of all the angels and saints.