An art collective is launching a new project to make music and connect with nature via a series of taster sessions for visually impaired, amateur musicians.

Sensing Nature, a new initiative by Waveney and Blyth Arts, will explore the nature of sound and sound in nature, and will lead to a bespoke outdoor musical performances in 2017.

Working with the Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind and a group of professional musicians, the group aims to inspire people to become sound-aware.

In the New Year four taster sessions will take place across Norfolk and Suffolk for visually-impaired musicians and singers who are interested in taking part in the initiative.

Waveney and Blyth Arts Jackie Walduck Tactile Credit Nicky Stainton

The project is being led by composer and vibraphone player Jackie Walduck, who set up London- based Tactile, half of whose members are visually impaired, and Adrian Lee, a composer and one of the visually-impaired musicians.

Waveney and Blyth Arts Adrian Lee Tactile Credit Nicky Stainton

The group, which performs concerts in the dark and uses tactile rather than written scores, has been commissioned by Waveney & Blyth Arts to create new compositions and lead the Sensing Nature project.

Jan Dungey, co-project manager, said: “Local animals, birds, insects and other creatures make the most extraordinary sounds – from barking foxes, to melodic nightingales, to chirping crickets.

“The sounds that local wildlife make will inspire new music, created by Adrian and Jackie, for Waveney and Blyth Arts.

“As they both have international reputations we are incredibly excited that they will be running free music workshops for Norfolk and Suffolk visually impaired singers and musicians in February next year.

“We hope that the singers and musicians will have such a good time in the workshops that they will carry on playing together and will perform the new music outdoors, as part of a ’sound trail’ next June in Thornham, near Eye.

“We want to make Thornham Walks alive with the sound of music – and nature.”

The resultant sound trail, comprising instrumental and vocal performances, will be performed to the public at Thornham Walks, a beautiful area of woodland, near Eye in Suffolk.

Waveney & Blyth Arts, based in the Waveney and Blyth valley, has secured a grant of £15,000 from the Arts Council to develop the project.

For those interested in getting involved, the taster sessions will take place between February 6th and 10th at Eye Community Centre (Monday 6th), Bradbury Centre in Norwich (Wednesday 8th), Fisher Theatre in Bungay (Thursday 9th) and High Street Exhibition Gallery in Ipswich (Friday 10th).

The workshops, which will run from 10am until 3pm, are free to join and funding for transport is available.

A spokesperson for Waveney & Blyth Arts said: “In terms of musical ability, we are looking for keen musicians and singers with some experience, but we’re not expecting professional or semi- professional standard.

“More important is an enthusiasm for playing together with top class musicians and exploring new ways of developing and making music.”

For more information, please contact Mike Davison from Waveney and Blyth Arts on 01379 852501 or email davisonmike@outlook.com.

waveneyandblytharts.com