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Backstage experience for talented special needs students

Tags: Auckland Community

Students from a special learning facility at Pakuranga College have come away inspired after attending an Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra open rehearsal.


Four students from the Pegasus Unit at the Bucklands Beach school, Andrew Hubble, Jason Ou, Katrina Lee and David Taylor, were exclusively invited backstage to meet the musicians before enjoying a full rehearsal of the orchestra’s Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite on November 13.

The group joined other blind and visually impaired adults and their guide dogs in the green room at the Auckland Town Hall where they had the opportunity to handle the instruments and chat to the musicians during their morning tea break.

The Pegasus Unit provides specialist teaching in physical education, music therapy, drama, science, art and food technology to students with an intellectual disability or special needs. The students aged between 13 and 21 also have the opportunity to study subjects by correspondence, attend tertiary courses at the Manukau Institute of Technology and take part in work experience.

Sarah Williamson of the Pegasus Unit said the students are given a platform to explore their own individual talents and interests.

“Andrew is an incredible drummer and Jason is an amazing pianist. He also plays the guitar and clarinet. This is a really special experience for them,” Ms Williamson said.

It is just the second time that the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra has opened its doors for this purpose to precede its popular Unwrap the Music series.

Bayleys Realty Group general manager Greg Hornblow, a longtime sponsor of the orchestra, was also there on the day and said it was heart warming to witness the impact that the experience had on the students.

“These kids will remember today for a very long time. It is experiences like this that can be really influential, especially for anyone with an interest in music.

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“I am delighted to be here as a sponsor and also an advocate for the fantastic work of the APO outside of their incredible concerts,” Mr Hornblow said.

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra has a long history of engagement with all sectors of the community through dedicated education and outreach activities.

The 2015 season has just been launched and a full list of next year’s concert programmes is available on the website apo.co.nz.

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