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Hitting the right notes: The Kansas City Symphony performs first sensory-friendly concert

BY: Ariel Rothfield
POSTED: 10:04 PM, Oct 24, 2017
UPDATED: 9:43 AM, Oct 25, 2017

It wasn’t a sold-out concert, and most in attendance did not dress up or sit quietly, but Thursday’s symphony performance is one many families, like Ho Anthony Ahn’s, will always remember.

“Everybody was absolutely amazing and accommodating,” said Ahn. “It just shows the love from the symphony for people like Conrad – that they care for him.”

Ahn’s son Conrad is on the autism spectrum, and for the first time, Conrad was able to sit in a concert hall and listen to music in an environment designed specifically for him.

This was the Kansas City Symphony’s first sensory-friendly performance – a concert held in a welcoming, inclusive and relaxed environment designed especially for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, who are sensory sensitive or may have other needs.

Unlike other performances, the lights were kept on and the music was much quieter. The audience could move around, sit wherever they wanted, even make noise while watching the space-themed program.

“It was wonderful for us to see that connection and that love in the audience,” said First Violinist Dorris Dai Janseen.

Ahn agreed. He played for the symphony for 20 years before retiring to take care of Conrad.

Before Thursday’s performance, his son had never been able to see what his dad loved, and Ahn's family had never attended one of his concerts altogether.

“His condition of autism spectrum prevented him from being able to sit still,” Ahn said. “It’s going to be one of those nights will be stuck with me forever.”

Calling Thursday a success, the Kansas City Symphony hopes to have more events like this one in the future.

View on the 41 Action News website here.