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Mixed ability artists are first performers to headline at Hornchurch special needs performance night

PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:57 09 January 2019

L-R: Guitarist Tom Hughes, drummer Gavin Jones, vocalist Gary Walker ad Martin Connors on Bass. Photo: Mike Barnes

L-R: Guitarist Tom Hughes, drummer Gavin Jones, vocalist Gary Walker ad Martin Connors on Bass. Photo: Mike Barnes

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A mixed ability band will be playing at a new special and educational needs (Send) night in Hornchurch.

Basildon band, Caged Arts will be performing at the first Havering Para Arts performance evening in the Fairkytes Arts Centre. Photo: Mike BarnesBasildon band, Caged Arts will be performing at the first Havering Para Arts performance evening in the Fairkytes Arts Centre. Photo: Mike Barnes

Basildon band Caged Arts will be performing at the first Havering Para Arts performance evening in the Fairkytes Arts Centre.

Vocalist Gary Walker, guitarist Tom Hughes, bass player Martin Connors and drummer Gavin Jones are a mixed ability band with autism and learning diffculties.

Caged Arts is the first group to be formed via the music service, Therapy in Music Expression (Time).

The Essex-based music service aims to provide opportunities for musical expression for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

“For many years I was writing lyrics and melodies but had no way of incorporating them in to music,” said Gary.

“I was made aware of Time and began attending their drop in music sessions.

“This process removed me from the highly reclusive lifestyle I used to lead and has drastically helped with the anxiety and depression I have suffered.”

Caged Arts is a regular on the live circuit, playing at numerous venues and festivals across Essex.

This includes appearances at mainstream music nights, which they believe further promotes inclusion and removes the tag of disability that is sometimes applied to them.

Gary added: “Music is my ultimate passion and release. I want to share my thoughts, feelings and frustrations with the world and see Caged Arts as the perfect platform to achieve this.”

The group recently released a single Screaming Roar Inside which is available on CD and iTunes.

During the school holidays Fairkytes Arts Centre has been holding sessions for children with disabilities to paint and play music.

“The sessions worked really well and through that we have been able to build up a relationship with Time,” said Tony Matthews, marketing manager at Fairkytes.

“We want to treat [Send night] like a regular gig. We’ll have areas where people can go for quiet if they need it.

“It’s quite exciting for us as it expands on the work we do which is to provide opportunties for local people to play their music.”

Caged Arts will be supported by singer Ellie Mason and the drummer Matthew Jerwood.

Send night takes place at the Fairkytes Arts Centre in Billet Lane on Friday, February 8.

Send is open to all, for more information email arts@havering.gov.uk or call 01708 434135.

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