If the idea of a night of music played by, and for, those who can't hear it might raise eyebrows, it proved to be both possible and successful on Sunday (Dec. 16) night in Detroit.
The Deaf and Loud Concert Experience was the first event of its kind, ever -- a collaboration between the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Deaf Professional Arts Network, which for 12 years has been dedicated to making music accessible to the deaf and hearing impaired. Over the course of just over two hours and 21 songs, it was, as world-class deaf percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie noted, "a classic example of true inclusiveness" and a model for how music can be made accessible to the hearing impaired, without condescension, and also be relevant, and resonant, to an audience that can hear it.
"I've never been to a symphonic show," D-PAN co-founder and rapper Sean Forbes, told Billboard. "As an artist, it is my goal to see how we can create something fresh by merging ideas together. So for me it wasn't just the symphonic infusion with hip-hop and rap, or vice versa -- it was more about how can we create an immersive experience for everyone."