Simsbury Student Musicians Perform at Capitol on “Special Education Day”

May 4, 2017
Witkos 2017-05-02 Simsbury Unitied Sound

Pictured from left to right: Savannah Beckius, Cameron Lawry, Georgia Poirot, Macy Belanger, Sen. Kevin Witkos, Laura Robichaud, Noah Leclair, Kristina Nordell, Charlotte D’Aleo

Hartford – On May 2 during Special Education Day at the state Capitol, students from Simsbury’s Henry James Memorial Middle School took the stage with a musical performance celebrating the school’s unique approach to Special Education.

State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) introduced the Henry James Memorial Middle School’s United Sound Ensemble at a ceremony at the state Capitol in Hartford. Their performance showcased the school’s music program based on the national “United Sound” model.  United Sound is a school-based instrumental music club for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their peers. The music program’s mission is to ensure that all children, no matter what challenges or disabilities they face, have access to meaningful and authentic music education.

“Educating those with special needs requires creativity, thoughtfulness and heart,” said Sen. Witkos. “One of the most inspiring ways I have seen special education reach a child is through music. Music is a language that transcends disability.”

With assistance from student volunteers acting as peer mentors, new musicians learn to play an instrument of their choice at a personally modified level. New musicians learn a piece of music to perform live in concert once per semester with their peer mentors and a full instrumental support ensemble.

At the Special Education Day ceremony, the local United Sound ensemble performed a rendition of Imagine Dragons’  song “Radioactive.” Performers included: Cameron Lawry, Savannah Beckius and Georgia Poirot on bells; Laura Robichaud, Macy Belanger and Noah Leclair on French horn; and teachers Charlotte D’Aleo and Kristina Nordell.

Henry James Memorial Middle School in Simsbury is the first school in Connecticut to create a United Sound program.

Deputy Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos represents the 8th District communities of Avon, Simsbury, Canton, New Hartford, Norfolk, Simsbury & Torrington. For more information visit