The Reno group changes the perception of disabilities through music


RENO, Nevada (KOLO) – One performance at a time, a group of talented musicians want to break the stereotype that people with disabilities have limited talents and abilities.

From blues and country, to jazz and classic rock, the Note-Ables have a wide range of musical styles that resonate with audiences of all kinds.

However, what sets them apart is that each member lives with a condition considered to be a disability.

Solo guitarist, Jeff Bloyd was born blind.

“I always knew since I was little that I was going to play music,” Bloyd said. “I was in a school for the blind when I was a kid and we had teachers, they’ll tell you where to put your hands and stuff like that.”

Before the pandemic, the group played 30 to 40 concerts a year, including private parties.

“I thought I would be a good fit because I have autism,” singer and bassist Michael Lahnala said.

Lahnala, who wrote two songs from the band’s latest album “We Go Far”.

“One of them is a satirical song, and I felt like I had to do it,” Lahnala said. “The other is based on my experience writing the other song.”

The group began work on the album via Zoom in July 2020.

Drummer and marketing coordinator for the nonprofit Note-Able Music Therapy Services, Nate Eng says the album is more than a six-song set.

“It’s a reflection of our persistence and resilience,” said Eng.

Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, the band not only released a 4th album, but were selected from over 100 other groups around the world to perform and be recognized at the Danny Awards in New York City.

“I was stunned,” Lahnala said.

“I was really happy because I’ve never been to New York,” said Bloyd.

The Danny Awards showcase and recognize the musical talents of people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the performance in New York has been postponed to 2022, but the group says it will be ready once a new date is set.

Besides Bloyd and Lahnala, the Note-Ables have four other members, Mark Geeson, Jeanine Moors, Tony Martin and Rebecca Shipley.

To find out more about the group and download their new album, click here.

“We Go Far” is also available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

To book Note-Ables, click here.

Copyright 2021 KOLO. All rights reserved.


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