News & Achievements

UK’s only blind orchestra visits Cornwall for the first time

A world-renowned orchestra visited Cornwall for the first time this week as they held a series of workshops and a gala concert at Truro High School for Girls.

Members of the UK’s only blind orchestra, Inner Vision, headed a series of hands-on music workshops at the award-winning school demonstrating to pupils that vision impairment needn’t hinder the creation of stunning music.

The musicians involved included the musical director and founder of Inner Vision Baluji Shrivastav, Nigerian-born soprano Victoria Oruwari, Arabic vocalist and oud player Ziad Sinno and vocalist Fereshteh Knosroujerdy who has only since coming to the UK as a refugee, been free to pursue her dream of being a singer.

The group is made up of blind and partially sighted musicians from all over the world. Their aim is to address the imbalance of sight impaired players in the music industry in the UK and to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

The orchestra draws from a group of 14 members who come from a wide range of musical backgrounds and cultures, brought together under the direction of Indian maestro, Baluji Shrivastav.

They believe that driven by an intensity of an inner vision, the group celebrates the power of music to transform lives.

Prep School pupils were treated to an interactive song and rhythm session learning pieces from a multitude of cultures stretching from Africa to India. The musicians also explained how they have mastered their instruments despite their vision impairment.

Pupils from Year 7-11 spent the morning undertaking the not inconsiderable challenge of learning traditional Indian ragas by ear. They also played traditional repertoire from Nigeria, Lebanon and Iran.

The girls were introduced to a wide range of instruments many of which they had never encountered before including the traditional Indian Sitar, tabla drums, and a distant relation of the European lute, an Oud. They were particularly intrigued by the one-stringed Gorpichand which is constructed from a gourd.

Members of the public also had the opportunity to experience the orchestra’s unique sound at a gala concert held in St John’s Church in Lemon Street. The evening raised almost £1500 to be shared between Shelterbox and the Baluji Music Foundation.

Head Girl, Zahra Dalal who helped organise the visit said: “It has been very moving to watch our community experience the joy of music flourishing in the face of adversity. The musicians in the orchestra are truly inspirational and we are extremely honoured to have them teach us something new.”

The event was kindly sponsored by Great Western Railway, Specsavers Truro, Kelsell Steele, TRAC Services Ltd and Klimek Jewellers. Many private donations were also gratefully received.

Sponsor ADI Access Ltd had a particular interest in the cause. The Truro-based company researches and develops life changing technology for those who suffer from all degrees of blindness. Their latest product the RoomMate is an electronic, wall-mounted device, which offers blind and visually impaired visitors bespoke audio description in a disabled access toilet.

Published by: Grace Kennard

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