Symphony by Non-Verbal Teen Is His 'Unforgettable Sunrise'

Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

Two standing people talk with two seated peopl in an indoor setting filled with people and musical instruments.
Paul Rock and his son Jacob visit with the musicians during the first rehearsal of Jacob and Rob Laufer’s symphonic collaboration, 'Unforgettable Sunrise,' with a 54-person orchestra at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023.  (Alisha Jucevic for KQED)

Non-Verbal Teen to ‘Take On the World’ With a Symphony Written in His Head

Jacob Rock is a non-verbal, autistic teenager from Los Angeles who wasn’t able to speak until 2020. That’s when he began to vividly type out his thoughts and feelings on an iPad. His parents were flabbergasted to realize that he could read and write and convey his emotions and creativity through text. Six months later, he told them he had a 70-minute symphony in his head. Unforgettable Sunrise is the result of a months-long collaboration between Jacob and Rob Laufer, a musician and composer who translated Jacob’s painstaking notes into a musical score. The symphony, which will be played Sept. 30 by an orchestra from USC’s Thornton School of Music, chronicles Jacob’s journey with physical pain, his inability to speak for most of his life and his joy in finally translating his voice to the world. Sasha Khokha visited Jacob and Rob to learn more about their collaboration.

‘Days Like This’ in Oakland Is a Party for the People, by the People

This free/donation-based party happens every Friday by Lake Merritt, in Oakland. It’s all about community joy through great DJs and dancing. Created by two friends who started it as a socially distanced dance hangout during the early days of the pandemic, the party has become a weekly ritual for many. Reporter Ariana Praehl takes us to the dance floor.

Alameda’s Pacific Pinball Museum Used To Operate Like ‘a Little Speakeasy’

The Pacific Pinball Museum on the island of Alameda has nine rooms that take visitors through the evolution of pinball. But this isn’t one of those museums where you can’t touch the art — here visitors are encouraged to play! For our Hidden Gems series, reporter Olivia Zhao takes us to play pinball.

Listen to this and more in-depth storytelling by subscribing to The California Report Magazine podcast.