The Great British Paraorchestra (2012)

The Great British Paraorchestra

The Great British Paraorchestra © Channel 4

Production Company: What Larks Productions

Kent locations used: Canterbury

Channel 4 brings us The Great British Paraorchestra, on the day of the closing ceremony for the Paralympics. The programme follows internationally renowned conductor Charles Hazlewood, as he puts together Britain’s first ever disabled orchestra. The musicians prepare to perform live in their first concert and have some inspiring stories to tell.  

Charles Hazlewood on stage

Charles Hazlewood © Channel 4

Conductor and radio presenter Charles Hazlewood created the orchestra, as his daughter was born with cerebral palsy and he observed that there were hardly any professional disabled musicians, which was due to a lack of opportunity and funding rather than ability.

The show looks at the various challenges faced by disabled musicians and questions these with a view to overcoming obstacles and what better time to showcase an orchestra made up of talented and disabled individuals than concurrent with the London Paralympics? 

The musicians all have stories to tell and include Matthew Wadsworth who created his own Braille system for lute music as a young boy, Stephanie West who suffers a hand deformity and plays a specially made wooden flute as well as Nicholas McCarthy, who is emerging as an amazing pianist despite being born without a right arm. 

The Great British Paraorchestra film crew came to Canterbury to film a few scenes. Canterbury is a popular tourist location due to its historic buildings including Canterbury Cathedral, cobbled streets, as well as multitudes of shops, universities, sports venues and theatres. It has been seen on the big and small screen before in The Canterbury Tales (1944), Bargain Hunt (2012) and Songs of Praise (2011).

Don’t miss The Great British Paraorchestra on Channel 4 on Sunday 09 September 2012 at 17:25.


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