Members flock to the church every Sunday to hear eleven-year-old Rubin Solpontoza sing. They say he sounds like an angel — even though he was born without a tongue and actually issues forth the beautiful melodies through his nose!
“I have never heard such sweet music in all my life,” says long time member Gretta Milhapper, 74. “Just being in the same room with that lovely young man is sheer joy to the heart,” she says. “How he makes such wonderful music without a tongue, I don’t know. But we all very much appreciate him for doing it.”
Says Rubin: “Everyone compensates for something in life. That’s part of being human. I had to learn to speak and sing without a tongue. Since I never had a tongue to begin with, I never gave it a second thought. I just did it.”
The boy, whose slightly slurred speech has a distinct nasal twang to it, is nevertheless able to make himself clearly understood.
When he talks, his mouth moves quite normally, but his nostrils flare and close rapidly with each sound.
Singing, however, is another matter altogether. People get the impression the boy is not handicapped at all. On the contrary, the boys appears to have been endowed with special gifts all his own!
“It’s remarkable,” says The Rev. Mr. Paul Campini, pastor of United Presbyterian. “Not only do the members come to church every Sunday, but our congregation is growing so rapidly that we have to bring in all the extra chairs we can find. We are in the process of building a new church.
“Rubin’s singing is a most heavenly gift from the Lord, and we are most grateful for it. Praise God for the wonderful music he’s giving us!”
Now that Rubin has become the center of the church’s musical program, the traditional choir is used simply for background accompaniment — while Rubin sings the melodies solo.
The new church, now under construction, is designed with a special, elevated pulpit, just for Rubin.
While the members of Rubin’s church gasp in awe at the sound of his lovely voice, Rubin himself is not impressed.
“I’m no different from anyone else,” says the modest fifth grader. “God gives all of us special gifts, and I just happen to be using mine right now. Anybody who wants to can do what I’m doing. Most people just don’t want to. They’d rather just sit and listen to people like me.”