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One-of-a-kind ‘Inter-Ability’ Chorus Performs Holiday Concert

After 12 weeks of working with Palm Beach Opera and Whole Vibes, the Inter-Ability Chorus, made up of adults with disabilities and special needs, presents a free holiday concert on Dec. 13 at the Els Center for Excellence.

Palm Beach Opera partnered with music therapist Erica Lyles of Whole Vibes and the Els Center of Excellence to bring adults with disabilities and special needs together through a one-of-a-kind music program. The Inter-Ability Chorus allows participants ages 16 and up to socialize, collaborate, develop musical skills and express themselves in an inclusive setting.

“I believe anyone can be successful in music, no matter what challenges they face,” said Lyles, who reached out to Palm Beach Opera to collaborate on a new music program for adults with disabilities. The two organizations first met at one of Palm Beach Opera’s Concerts in the Classroom, standards-based performances by the company’s resident artists, at the Els Center for Excellence.

“We worked together to create an all-embracing environment for musical expression, which can foster self-esteem and community connection, as well as provide a non-verbal outlet for those with disabilities,” said James Clements, Palm Beach Opera’s education and community engagement manager. “Everyone has a story to tell, and music is a great way to do that.”

During this program, adults with various abilities learn to follow a conductor and sing on stage, work as a team to prepare for the concert, and are challenged to learn songs in various languages, which also provides exposure to opera. Throughout the holiday concert program, songs are performed in seven different languages, including sign language.

“We are thrilled and honored to be a part of this unique music program,” said Palm Beach Opera’s General Director David Walker. “Providing these individuals with musical and vocal instruction in a safe space promotes self-expression, confidence and overall well-being, and ties our communities closer together.”

The Inter-Ability Chorus will present a free concert of holiday favorites on Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Els Center for Excellence, and will be open to the public. Guests are encouraged to RSVP online.

Palm Beach Opera is dedicated to producing live opera at an international standard of excellence, to enriching the life of the communities it serves with a diverse offering of educational programs, and to training the next generation of opera stars. Founded in 1961, the fully professional Palm Beach Opera presents main stage performances at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach and is a proud member of OPERA America and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

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