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Play On! – Special Needs Performance

Music is a universal language. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, how well you can speak it or if you can even speak at all. Music can bring together people from all over the world.

At The Sidney Lanier Center, in Alachua County, FL, 130 special needs students ranging in age ,from 3 years old to 22 years old come together to learn about music. The students live with a variety of disorders such as autism, cerebral palsy and down syndrome.

10 students in the music class have recently received a special opportunity. They will be performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 21st. Some students include those who are deaf and others cannot speak at all.

The teachers of the school see music as an important part of special education. It is a way for students to have an opportunity to express themselves through creative expression that most people can understand, no matter what skill level they may be achieving or performing at.

The school has grown in their music department over the years, even getting a camera for computers to communicate with other schools around the world. By interacting with other schools, more opportunities had arisen.

Dr. Donald DeVito, the music teacher, discovered that Carnegie Hall was available for performances. He started organizing this event with other teachers from around the world. Along with this class, students from Brazil, West Africa, Ireland and England will be joining them.

The center received a $10,000 grant in addition to the funds from a benefit concert. The performance at Carnegie Hall is an international event and the first time all the performers will be playing together live.

This will be a special performance for the students of this school. Playing and getting recognition for the music they perform will help show the community that the students are capable of anything they put their mind to.

Picture by woodleywonderworks

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