Waveney arts project aiming to inspire blind musicians

Adrian Lee, Tactile.
Adrian Lee, Tactile.
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Waveney and Blyth Arts hopes to help visually-impaired people to make music and connect with nature in the coming year, after obtaining an arts grant to develop a new project.

The arts collective is preparing to launch Sensing Nature, an initiative created with the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind and a group of professional musicians, with the goal of exploring the ‘nature of sound and sound in nature’.

Funded with the help of a £15,000 grant from the Arts Council, it will begin with a series of four free taster sessions held across Norfolk and Suffolk in the new year, and sight-impaired musicians and singers are urged to join in.

The project will culminate in a bespoke outdoor performance for the public at the Thornham Walks woodland near Eye next June, along with a new ‘sound trail’.

Jan Dungey, the co-project manager of the Sensing Nature initiative, said: “Local animals, birds, insects and other creatures make the most extraordinary sounds – from barking foxes, to melodic nightingales, to chirping crickets.

“We hope that the singers and musicians will have such a good time in the workshops that they will carry on playing together and will perform the new music outdoors.

“We want to make Thornham Walks alive with the sound of music – and nature.”

The scheme is being led by composer and vibraphone player Jackie Walduck, who set up London-based Tactile, half of whose members are visually impaired, and Adrian Lee, a composer and one of the visually-impaired musicians.

A spokesperson for Waveney and Blyth Arts said: “In terms of musical ability, we are looking for keen musicians and singers with some experience, but we’re not expecting professional or semi-professional standard.

“More important is an enthusiasm for playing together with top class musicians and exploring new ways of developing and making music.”

The first of the workshops, which all run from 10am until 3pm, is on February 6, 2017, at the Eye Community Centre.

For details, call Waveney and Blyth Arts on 01379 852501.