Published date 6 July 2022

Disabled youngsters hit all the right notes with £3,000 grant

Metro Mayor Dan Norris playing the clarion, an instrument designed by Open Up Music, with the talented Ted, a member of the 12-strong Three Ways School special orchestra

Sweet harmonies rung out across Three Ways School in Odd Down as Metro Mayor Dan Norris joined an orchestra with a difference at one of their rehearsals.

Mr Norris celebrated the achievements of the awe-inspiring ‘Three Ways School Open Orchestra’ benefiting from a £3,000 cash injection from the West of England Combined Authority he leads as he joined the young talented Bath musicians practicing for their end of year concert.

Local charity Open Up Music is the brainchild behind ‘Open Orchestras’ ensuring children with disabilities do not miss out from the joy of making music.

Members of the 12-strong Three Ways School orchestra played several of the pieces they are preparing for the end-of-year jamboree to the Metro Mayor, with music arranged to make the most of their talents by inspirational orchestra leaders Aimee Warburton and Michael Moast. The talented young Bathonians play a wide range of instruments, including electric keyboards, violins and a special instrument called a Clarion.

The Mayor even got the chance at playing the Clarion himself. Aimee and Michael guided Mayor Norris on how to make music with the award-winning and locally designed accessible instrument. The Clarion is played on an iPad using any part of the body - your fingers, head, eyes or even feet!

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “Music is magic. I'm so pleased this £3,000 cash injection from the West of England Combined Authority means more talented students are experiencing being a part of the band, playing, performing together and making new friends.”

Open Up Music is encouraging other special schools in the area to join the Open Orchestras community and give their students this opportunity. Trusts and Foundations Manager Alison Maxhuni added: “The support we've had from the West of England Combined Authority has been invaluable. Benefiting from human resources expertise and business mentoring has also been fantastic in these challenging times. Next year, there will be over 50 Open Orchestras running in the UK. We’d like to encourage all special schools and Music hubs in the West of England to start their own school orchestra - the stronger the networks in our region, the more opportunities we can create for young disabled people to connect musically and socially."

There are now 11 Open Orchestras in the whole region, supporting over 100 super-talented eight-to-eighteen-year-old young disabled musicians.

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