Thursday, March 4, 2010

Made up of students from three New York schools for the mentally challenged, the Exceptional Citizens Band was the brainchild of Dr. Robert Ianacone, who assembled the group in 1972 to record an album and perform at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles. Dr. Ianacone had spent many years analyzing the relationship between intellectual handicaps and musical aptitude, and he firmly believed that mental handicaps could be circumvented when dealing with musically talented children. His exact method is outlined in the book 7 Ways To Sidestep Cerebral Shortcomings Symphonically.

The project was the first of its kind and it proceeded brilliantly. In the span of just four weeks the students rehearsed all the material, recorded the album, performed three concerts, and took a field trip to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. The accolades poured in. The Gainesville Sun declared "The capacity of the retarded to express themselves through music is truly amazing! Listening to 'One Fine Morning', it's hard to believe that it was performed by people so handicapped." New York Senator Jacob Javits said the record was an excellent example of the ability for the mentally challenged to reach their fullest potential when given the right opportunity. "Hopefully the Democrats in the Senate can draw inspiration from this." he added with a wink.



Icky's Ego said...

Outstanding. There's so much we don't see about the mentally handicapped and what's on their minds. Great article! -Icky's Ego

Sarah Hart said...

how do i buy a copy of this album?

Bob Ianacone said...

Hello - My name is also Bob Ianacone (this article is about my father, not me!) and I happened across this site while doing ancestry research. I was so touched by the review and comments (and so clearly remember lugging around boxes of this album as a kid!), I immediately called my dad to find out where someone could buy this record. He had no idea if they were being sold anywhere but relayed to me that he has a box or two left and would gladly send one to anyone who was interested in having a copy...he was actually thrilled to hear there were people interested in this work after such a long time. I am not sure how to get it to you (and I understand very clearly that it is not a good idea to give out personal info over the internet), so if you still want a copy, I recommend contacting him by email ( or through his office at George Washington University's School of Education where he is an Associate Dean. Please feel free to contact me here or at my email ( if you have any questions and thank you very much for being interested in my father's life work...and I know he appreciates it as well!