The Utah Symphony and Utah Opera will present their yearly concert for members of the community who are often limited when it comes to enjoying cultural opportunities this week.
It was during a board meeting 14 years ago that the CEO of the Utah Symphony and Orchestra was asked by a father to help find a way to include families and their special needs children so they could have access to music and performances without worrying about being disruptive.
"He had a son with Autism and he said one of the things that our family needs is a cultural event we can attend together," said Paula Fowler, the director of education and community outreach for the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera.
Fowler said the father was concerned the public thought families with special needs children couldn't control their children.
"Other people look at us like we can't control our child and it's not really the issue. So it would be great if we had a really special concert where families could attend and not have to worry about expected behaviors of their children that might be disruptive to other people," she said.
Thursday’s annual Access to Music concert for children with special needs and their families will include an evening of music being played in the lobby, and a 45-minute concert at the Capitol Theatre featuring Utah Opera Resident Artists and the Utah Symphony surrounded by scenery from La Traviata.
"So there's some really great symphony favorites that are played with that, always the William Tell Overture, lots of things where kids can bounce in their seats and conduct along or dance along if they want to, I love it," Fowler said.
As many as 1,100 families who have children with special needs are expected to gather for this cultural event, which, Fowler said, will feature a spectacular view of the symphony’s Brass section.
To register for Thursday evening’s free performance, visit the Symphony's website.