Dis­abled bring band suc­cess

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE -

PRAGUE — It’s an un­usual orches­tra, one that has played in Lon­don, Madrid, Moscow and Jerusalem. Its next stops are New York, Wash­ing­ton and Chicago.

The Tap Tap, cre­ated 18 years ago to give stu­dents at a renowned school for the dis­abled in Prague an ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­ity, has be­come a ma­jor mu­si­cal op­er­a­tion that has drawn mil­lions of fans, first at home and grad­u­ally abroad.

You can’t tell from its pro­fes­sional, typ­i­cally rhyth­mic sound that many of the mu­si­cians are in wheel­chairs with se­ri­ous dis­abil­i­ties. And that’s just what its di­rec­tor wants.

Band leader Si­mon Ornest be­lieves that of­ten the dis­abled aren’t chal­lenged enough and peo­ple tend to be too so­lic­i­tous of them.

“My goal from the very start was not to do it as a ther­apy but as a band with ev­ery­thing that it could in­volve,” Ornest says. “(Those) around 18 to 20 years old are con­fronted in our band for the first time with a sit­u­a­tion where we re­ally want some­thing from them. We in­sist on it.”

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