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Conductor proud to blaze a musical trail

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: September 12, 2012

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ACCLAIMED Keinton Mandeville conductor Charles Hazlewood helped the nation bid farewell to the Paralympics with his British Paraorchestra on Sunday.

Mr Hazlewood conducted the recently-founded orchestra of 17 disabled musicians as they played out the spectacular closing ceremony alongside Coldplay. The orchestra includes a one-handed pianist, a blind man who plays a guitar-like instrument called an oud, and an electronic musician with severe cerebral palsy. Their performances included the Paralympic anthem.

Mr Hazlewood said: "I am overjoyed at the success of the British Paraorchestra and its reception. I am incredibly proud that as a nation we have now just finished hosting the most successful Games ever and have blazed a trail for another extraordinary talent; that of our musicians with a disability."

The orchestra made its debut at Hazlewood's Orchestra in a Field concert at Glastonbury this summer. The issue of disabled musicians is close to Mr Hazlewood's heart as his own six-year-old daughter Eliza has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.

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