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We knew we had a good thing when the Director of Pops’n Jazz approached US this year to ask whether we would like a Sensory Friendly Performance again this year.

So many people with disabilities and their families enjoy live performances but are left out. Their sensory systems have trouble balancing the lights, sounds and excited electricity with the audience expectation of quiet, stillness, and control.

Imagine stifling a sneeze for 3 hours!

Sometimes you just have to clap or jump, pace or rock, run or yell. Sometimes you just need a break. Emmett Drake understands this.

Director of Orchestras at both Conard and Hall High Schools, Emmett Drake started the show off by welcoming the audience (double in size from last year) to the second annual Sensory Friendly Performance of Pops’n’Jazz .

He warned us about some loud parts so we'd be prepared. He let us know it was okay to just be ourselves. You could almost feel all the families relaxing at the same time. At several points, I watched the crowd.

They were all enjoying the show in real time, no waiting until a break to clap. If they loved something they clapped or yelled. They had no favorites but were rooting for all of the performers.

It looked like the performers felt this vibe as they clearly brought their A games to this performance- truly Broadway quality.

Simply put, everyone was happy to be there.

One parent said “We're usually happy that we just made it through the door. The fact that my son is staying this long is a miracle. We feel so welcome here.”

A win-win. Thank you to Emmett Drake, James Antonucci, and the whole Pops/n/Jazz cast. We love you guys!

Check out the WeHa Unified Business Club's tab on Sensory Friendly Performances so you can organize one at YOUR school.

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