A school for young learners with Asperger’s and autism celebrated World Autism Awareness Day on Thursday with a concert that showcased their depth of musical talent.
Ten different bands from LVS Hassocks took to the stage in the school’s iconic oast house building and entertained a large audience with a varied playlist at an event which also marked the end of term.
With learners at LVS Hassocks actively encouraged to participate in clubs and broaden their skill sets, many of those at the school performed during the celebration which involved class groups, a beginners band and even a solo performance.
The event was testimony to the understanding and skill of the school’s staff, with students who can find learning and communication difficult playing instruments and performing with each other in front of a packed room of families and friends for two hours.
With World Autism Awareness Day also coinciding with the last day of term at LVS Hassocks there was a carnival atmosphere as the concert had staff, learners and parents dancing in the aisles to a string of excellent performances.
The school’s music teacher, Paul Selkirk, has toured the globe with bands such as Def Leppard and the rock influence showed as the playlist included Born To Be Wild, House of the Rising Sun and The Eagles’ Hotel California.
Henry gave the only solo performance of the event, performing ‘Naughty’ from Matilda and earning a rapturous reception.
Guitar Mayhem demonstrated the emerging talent at LVS Hassocks as a group of learners took to the stage together to play instruments that they have only recently started playing.
They were followed by ASDC and TBA, who welcomed back a former Hassocks learner to enjoy the event and provide guest vocals for her old school friends, emphasising the strong bonds that are created and maintained at the school.The ILA House Band and Wrong Side of the Spectrum performed classic rock before the Hassocks Allstars Blues Band brought the concert to a spectacular close.
Making their final live performance before playing to 600 people at the national Autism’s Got Talent Final in May, they performed a selection of their favourite hits including House Of The Rising Sun and Mustang Sally, for which they called on stage guest vocalist Adele Davies-Fletcher, head of ILA and teacher at LVS Hassocks.
Event organiser Paul Selkirk said: “All of the staff are so proud of the learners who entertained us today.
“To have the courage to stand up on stage, perform and interact with each other shows how far they have all progressed at LVS Hassocks, and the quality was really high too.
“The concert can only boost their self-confidence too – you could see that on their faces when they received ovations after each song”.
The concert was a huge success with families leaving happy and thoroughly entertained, and a very fitting way to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day.