Accessibility and inclusion is central to the ethos of the festival and supporting access to music-making for people with special needs is a vital expression of that philosophy. In the weeks leading up to the festival Amanda Koser, Josie Nugent and Caolan Hendron will lead a series of music-making workshops with children and young people with special needs.
During these informal, fun sessions, participants will work on acquiring skills in rhythm and melody and work together to create a performance. This will lead to a final, public performance on Tuesday 4 February.
Amanda Koser is project manager and lead trainer for Music Bridge community music programme in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin in Derry. A multi-talented musician, she is also music educator, ethnomusicologist, band director and performer.
Dr Josie Nugent is a music therapist and accomplished musician from an Irish folk music background. She has an MA in Music Therapy and a PhD in Biological Sciences. She currently works as a music therapist at Foyle Down Syndrome Trust.
Caolan Hendron is a music therapist and a highly accomplished banjo player. He works as a therapist in Belfast and is an active performer, playing in a number of bands nation-wide.