Is there a person in your life (child or adult) who is neurodiverse, has sensory sensitivities and/or simply can’t sit still when the music moves them? If so, you probably avoid taking them to concerts, events or other loud/crowded places, but you wish you could. Everyone should experience the power of live music, right? Thankfully, Caramoor sees you, and they’re offering you that opportunity this Sunday, December 11 with a 4:00 performance from musician, storyteller, and educator Reggie Harris.
“I am a parent of two young children and I’m passionate about meeting children (and frankly, all people!) where they are (and not forcing them into a box in which they don’t fit or that they are not developmentally ready for),” explains Ellie Gisler Murphy, Caramoor’s senior artistic planning manager, via email. “A very close friend of mine has a young son with down syndrome and I know that many parents with children with disabilities avoid performance halls because they felt that their own presence would be disruptive or unwelcome – this avoidance carries on into adulthood. An entire lifetime away from live music!”
Gisler researched what performances look like for neurodiverse people and realized that it’s not difficult to create a sensory-friendly experience. Plus, it aligns perfectly with Caramoor’s diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility goals.
In the spring of 2022, Caramoor worked with family musicians Dan and Claudia Zanes to host a sensory-friendly event.
“Claudia is a music therapist and they are both committed to making all their programs sensory friendly,” says Murphy. “I was also inspired by them to see if we could make more of our performances fit their model.”
Murphy reached out to Harris, who hadn’t performed a sensory friendly concert before. But, because a lot of his friends in the industry have, he “whole-heartedly” agreed to do so.
“Reggie is a musician and educator with such warmth and generosity,” says Murphy. “It’s not that his music and stories, which are steeped in the traditions of African American spirituals and the music of civil and human rights, are specifically suited to sensory friendly audiences, but that having sensory sensitivities should not preclude audiences from learning about this history. Reggie has been to Caramoor a few times before, and we knew he would bring the flexibility and equanimity needed to create this event.”
Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children and available here. Enjoy dancing in the aisles!
Gia Miller is an award-winning journalist and the editor in chief/co-publisher of Katonah Connect. She says she’s living the dream she never knew she had. Gia enjoys telling people’s stories, laughing at her crazy dog and a good podcast. She thanks multiple alarms, fermented grapes and her husband for helping her get through each day. Her love languages are food and humor.