CARMEL, Ind. – Most high schools have bands. Some have orchestras. But only one in Indiana has a specific program that makes sure each and every student gets to participate.
We were allowed to visit Thursday inside the Carmel High School orchestra room, where final rehearsal was underway for the winter concert, which is Thursday night at 8.
The room is filled with students making music together. They are members of an after-school club called “United Sound.”
“It warms my heart,” Orchestra director Soo Han said. “I can’t describe it – when they’re playing together, it’s some of the most beautiful music.”
The members of United Sound have played instruments for years, but some of their classmates with special needs or disabilities have just picked up a cello or violin within the past few months.
“Some of them are high-functioning students with autism,” Han said. “And some students just have a lot of physical disabilities.”
That includes a student who has physical disabilities and is also blind.
In each case, in their free time after school experienced teen musicians are accommodating their classmates and helping them grow.
It’s an opportunity few schools have, with just 14 in the country with a United Sound club.
The students were practicing a seasonal favorite, “Silent Night,” while we were there.
We highly recommend you watch our video in the player above, but make sure to keep your box of tissues handy.
The United Sound club at Carmel High School is a branch of a nonprofit that started in Arizona two years ago. To learn more about the that group's efforts to give students with disabilities the chance to create music, visit their website here.