When the glory and bliss of your dreams are being manifested into your reality it almost feels unbelievable, doesn’t it? It is the case for Charles Hazlewood and his British Paraorchestra. Many of us, in fact hundreds of millions of people around the world watched the closing ceremony of the Paralympics 2012 in London earlier this fall. The climax of the ceremony saw a newly formed orchestra of 17 disabled musicians playing along with Coldplay and Rihanna. The moment touched the global community undoubtedly, but for the few of us who have followed their journey, it was even more inspiring..

The story goes back to TEDx Brussels 2011, when Charles Hazlewood brought 4 musicians with disabilities to perform for the first time in front of a public, at TEDxBrussels2011. The group  improvised and interpreted the traditional British tune – “Greensleeves” in a performance that brought the audience to their feet and raised the roof. That was the moment when we all got to hear their daring vision: “Every country should have a paraorchestra of all shapes and all sizes. No question about that. So here is our paraorchestra. Where’s yours?”.

“We are at the starting gate with our project”, our guest speaker continued. “We need your help. We need the global community to help us live this dream so that this orchestra could be full steam ahead by summer 2012”.

Speaking about the Paralympics in 2011 Hazlewood said; “When the Paralympics come to London next year, there will not be an intelligent person anywhere on the planet who does not absolutely believe in the validity of disabled sports. What an amazing position to be in”.

One year later, not only has he realised this dream, but the results were beyond all our expectations. Sharing the stage with global stars such as Coldplay, Rihanna and Jay-Z, was just the next step in the journey. There is now talk of a European tour and possible studio recordings, not to mention the queue of disabled musicians waiting to be assessed  for inclusion in the paraorchestra.

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The inspiration for the paraorchestra is a deeply personal one too. Being especially close to this topic, I can not resonate more with the idea of having such platforms for people to express their visions and engage the communities so that they can make their voices heard. It’s great to see that TEDxBrussels embarked on this mission, standing for a platform where dreams and visions that are shared here turn into reality.

I invite you to join me at the 2012 edition of TEDxBrussels to discover more such inspiring ideas and many extraordinary people that walk the talk.

-Nicholas Brooke

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