THE Deaf Youth Orchestra is remarkable in every way.
It was founded last autumn and has already broken down barriers to music-making by deaf people.
The parents and families of its 50 members – who are all young deaf people – have had real pleasure seeing their children grow into musicians and members of an orchestra.
The group’s administrator, Sue Rosborough, said: “There isn’t anything like it anywhere else in the country. It is a marvellous asset for Kirklees.
“The orchestra has built what was a group of young novice deaf instrumentalists who could barely read music into a full orchestra, with their own conductor and a composition written specially for them.
“Deafness can be extremely isolating, but real friendships have been formed. Their social skills have developed through meeting other deaf players and they developed a sense of belonging through membership of the orchestra and their sections.”
Sue said: “The young people from Kirklees who have taken part in the first year of this ground-breaking project have overcome tremendous difficulties.”
The orchestra has developed through a series of out-of-school workshops run by the Huddersfield-based Music and The Deaf charity.
The charity, based at the Media Centre in Northumberland Street, was set up in 1988 by Huddersfield-born deaf musician Dr Paul Whittaker to help deaf people enjoy, rather than be excluded, from music.
The orchestra’s first public performance was at The Venue in Leeds.
Cash from several trusts and foundations have guaranteed the future of the orchestra and its good work for at least another year.
There are to be weekly instrumental lessons for young deaf players and a concert planned for June next year.