On Wednesday, November 6, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performed two unique concerts for students and staff of the Special School District of St. Louis County and other schools for individuals with a range a special needs. The SLSO’s Sensory-Friendly Education Concerts, performed at and in partnership with the St. Louis Jewish Community Center, presented the timeless classic Peter and the Wolf to hundreds of children and their accompanying teachers and school staff.
The SLSO regularly hosted concerts for children with special needs in the 1980s and early ‘90s. Students with various disabilities generally have fewer opportunities to engage with the arts than their peers. The SLSO worked closely with Paula Berner, a retired special education/music teacher from Special School District, to provide a concert experience in a sensory-friendly environment that is welcoming and judgment-free.
As the orchestra depicted characters like a bird, duck, cat, and wolf through music, students clapped along, eyes glowing and smiles beaming at hearing a live orchestra, many for the first time. Bobby Norfolk, an Emmy Award-winning speaker and storyteller, provided entertaining and engaging narration to Peter and the Wolf, with an American Sign Language interpreter telling the story alongside Norfolk.
See more photos from the SLSO's Sensory-Friendly Concert below:
Photos by Yana Hotter