Ulster Orchestra team up with two inclusive music groups for sold out concert

Two inclusive musical ensembles are coming together for a sold out concert with the Ulster Orchestra.

Acoustronic and Performance without Barriers are made up of disabled musicians, many of whom are clincally vulnerable and had to isolate for much of the coronavirus pandemic.

After years of rehearsing together on Zoom, the combined orchestra is coming together for a concert at Ulster University's Belfast Campus.

During Covid, many disabled people had to isolate making Zoom the only way for Acoustronics and Performance without Barriers to rehearse.

"It was very difficult for us people, especially the people who have learning disabilities as well," said John Lynch who is from the Acoustronic group at Ulster University's Magee campus.

"Music is actually very soothing for us and we really enjoy it when we create all this new music," he explained.

The two groups use digital technology and virtual reality to allow those of all abilities to join in with the Ulster Orchestra.

"I've got the VR and I see a harp in front of me - I think I'm playing a harp - it's that realistic. It's going to be crazy," said Gary Wylie from Performance Without Barriers which is based at Queen's University.

  • WATCH: Prof Frank Lyons from Ulster University and Prof Franziska Schroeder from Queen's University explain more about the project:

"I think what we put on stage should reflect what we want our audiences to look like," explained Patrick McCarthy from the Ulster Orchestra

If we say to people in Northern Ireland that the Ulster Orchestra is for everybody then I think there's a reasonable expectation that people should see a range of different performers on stage and to see the diversity that we want in audiences reflected on the stage as well.

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