By Rébecca Kleinberger.
One of the goals of the Philadelphia Voices project is to make music and music-making accessible to everyone in the city. You don’t need to be a trained musicien to make music, you don’t even need to be able to speak to vocally participate and have your voice heard! As part of “We’re HEAR Week,” the Philadelphia Orchestra organised a free sensory-friendly concert inviting everyone in the community and especially those of us with cognitive or physical disabilities, sensory sensitivities, learning differences or anyone who could benefit from a relaxing environment to enjoy music. I set up an experience booth with the help of Kevin Walker and his team from mSound recording studio. We invited families and children to rediscover their voices with technologies that we build at the MIT Media Lab. Children could try the ORB, a porcelain object that vibrates and becomes alive with the voice of the user. We also presented for the first time Milky Waze, a voice-controlled interactive software that allow users to conduct a choir of diverse voices from Philly only with their individual voices, to reflect how individual and society interconnect and echo one another.