The Hearts for Music special needs orchestra; a first of its kind in Northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The non-profit organization Hearts for Music offers a one of a kind experience for kids and adults with special needs.

Musicians must be at least 8 years of age.

Children and adults do not need to have any prior experience to play in the orchestra.

Hearts for Music founder and artistic director Kitrael Chin works with each individual's capabilities to determine what kind of instrument they will play.

"I am a big proponent that what we do is not so much music. It's showing that disabilities can be transformed into abilities," said Chin.

Some of the musicians participate by using an app on an iPad. Garage Band is one of the apps the orchestra is currently using.

"The nice thing about Garage Band is that you can create different notes depending on where you put it, and you can go up and down," said Chin.

The children and adults in the orchestra say they love being able to play music with other people.

"I like the whole group," said Vincent Delsignore, who plays the violin.

"I have autism. When I get angry, I have very little ways to calm me down - this is one of these ways that I calm myself down," said Michael John Christensen, who plays the guitar.

Anyone who is listening and watching gets to experience a sweet melody that reminds us all to rise above whatever it may be that we think holds us back.

Chin says his ultimate goal is to have his orchestra play in a concert alongside a professional symphony orchestra like the Cleveland Orchestra or the Akron Symphony Orchestra. Chin also hopes that there will come a day when special needs orchestras are in every community, giving children and adults with special needs everywhere an opportunity to play an instrument and perform alongside other children and adults.

If you know a child or adult who would like to participate in Hearts for Music or if you'd like to make a donation or volunteer, click here.

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