Nothing Could Stop a Dreamer: Story of a Unique Czech Orchestra

The Tap Tap is quite a unique orchestra that you don’t see every day. Its most members are handicapped.They have travelled the world, performed at the Prague Spring festival and sold out the Prague Opera House.

“We are handicapped by music,” says the slogan on the band’s official website, which has a double meaning: in Czech, it can also be understood as “we are crazy about music.” This is visible when looking at the band’s history. 

The Tap Tap was founded and directed by Simon Ornest in 1998. The group is mostly made out of students from Jedlička Institute for young people with disabilities.

“I started to work in the Jedlčka Institute some twenty or maybe more than twenty years ago. I used to play in several bands and I practiced several hours a day on the saxophone and clarinet,” commented Simon Ornest for Radio Praha.

“Nobody could have expected this [success]. But I had the feeling that if I could do some really good work with the band, which consists mostly of students with disabilities, it would boost team-work. So I am glad that it has worked out,” Ornest said.

The band’s shows are known for being fun and entertaining and those who have any doubts about the abilities of its members, be they blind, wheelchair-bound or mentally disabled, should definitely see them perform live.

The most well-known song by the Tap Tap Orchestra is Řiditel autobusu or the Boss Driver. It describes the real-life troubles encountered by one of the band’s members, who was not allowed to take his bike, which he uses instead of a wheelchair, on a bus.

The song features popular Czech musicians Xindl X, Vojta Dyk and Dan Bárta, and is often played on the Czech Radio. The music video has enjoyed a record number of views on Youtube.

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