BOSTON (WHDH) - The Boston Pops is holding its first live holiday performances with audiences since 2019, and on Sunday they played for a special crowd.

The orchestra played an hourlong sensory-friendly concert at Symphony Hall, designing the show for people who are living with autism, on the spectrum, or living with sensory sensitivities. The performance had lower volume and lighting levels, extra space for movement, a designated quiet room, and safe spaces, and credentialed autism therapist volunteers were on set.

“Our music is for everybody, and anything we can do to broaden the audiences on the spectrum of those we play for feels like a victory,” said conductor Keith Lockhart. “To be able to give this gift to so many people who have so many struggles in their everyday lives, especially in this year where we’re all feeling this release of being able to come back into the community, it feels like a gift to us, as much or more than a gift to them.”

Parents of attendees said the show was a great way to give their children an experience out.

“We don’t have a lot for the autism community and there are a lot of places we can’t go with our children, because of their behaviors, so here we are in a room with everybody and their different behaviors and nobody cares and we’re very very comfortable, so it means a lot,” said Susan Parziale.

“It’s so important for the community, the disability community, it is, it makes me cry every time we come,” said Christine Stanton.

And the performers said they were boosted by the energy of their audience.

“To be up on the stage and watch the children dancing and waving their sticks and conducting the orchestra while we’re singing about the most important things — peace, joy, love, community — I feel absolutely filled with the holiday spirit,” said singer Caroline Corrales.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox