(ELIZABETH, NJ) -- The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) returns to The Mills at Jersey Gardens, New Jersey’s largest outlet and value retail center, for its annual Playathon on Sunday, March 26. Nearly 500 talented young musicians will entertain shoppers with pops favorites, including symphonic highlights from Harry Potter, The Lord of The Rings, and Star Wars. In addition to the festival orchestra performance in Center Court at 3:00pm, two additional stages will feature NJYS jazz, woodwind, and percussion performers beginning at 12:30pm.
As the youth orchestra program’s largest fundraiser, Playathon helps provide financial assistance for students who would not otherwise be able to participate in NJYS, as well as ensures the continuation of programs that support excellence in music education for all. This year, 25% of donations to the Playathon made on March 26 will go to support Children’s Specialized Hospital to give back to other children in need in the Garden State.
To learn more, make a donation, or view the Playathon livestream, visit playathon.givesmart.com.
“It is so wonderful to finally see us all back performing in person at The Mills at Jersey Gardens for the NJYS’ annual Playathon fundraiser,” said Peter H. Gistelinck, Executive Director at Wharton Arts, the mother organization of the New Jersey Youth Symphony. “NJYS’ tuition only covers 75% of the actual program costs and this fundraiser is crucial to enable us to continue providing music education in an inclusive community accessible for everyone.”
Said Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo, "The New Jersey Youth Symphony's Playathon is not just an annual event, it’s a cherished family tradition that celebrates music and community. From wide-eyed third graders to seasoned high school seniors, Playathon is a rite of passage that unites our students and families in a larger-than-life gathering of the NJYS musical family. Through this annual tradition, we strive to instill a sense of belonging and importance in our community, showcasing the power of music to bring people together."
Wharton Arts’ mission is to offer accessible, high quality performing arts education that sparks personal growth and builds inclusive communities.
Wharton Arts’ vision is for a transformative performing arts education in an inclusive community to be accessible for everyone.
Wharton Arts is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving nearly 2,000 students through a range of classes and ensembles. The 5 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Chorus, an auditioned choral ensemble program for students in grades 3–12, encourage a love and appreciation of choral music while nurturing personal growth and creative development. The 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve over 500 students in grades 3–12 by audition, inspire young people to achieve musical excellence through high-level ensemble training and performance opportunities. Based in Paterson, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of Wharton Arts that uses music education as a vehicle for social action by empowering and inspiring young people to achieve their full potential through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. From Pathways classes for young children to Lifelong Learning programs for adults, the Wharton Performing Arts School has a robust musical theater and drama program and offers both private and group classes for instruments and voice for all ages and all abilities. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and that performing arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton Arts offers need-based scholarships.
Wharton Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence, and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 12 counties. All of Wharton Arts’ extraordinary teaching artists, faculty members, and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.