Friday, March 19, 2021

New Jersey Youth Symphony Hosts Virtual Playathon, Sunday, March 21, at 3:00 p.m. FREE

The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) hosts

A Virtual Playathon 

WHEN: Sunday, March 21, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. EDT

The event will feature virtual ensemble performances, raffles, trivia contests, and interviews with NJYS conductors, as well as a live auction to win the conductor’s baton and the chance to conduct the New Jersey Youth Symphony performing John Williams’ Superman. WNYC’s Weekend Edition and The Christie Tracker Podcast Host David Furst will preside as the event’s emcee.

The annual fundraiser raises nearly $100,000 for the organization to support performing arts education, including scholarships and tuition assistance for New Jersey’s largest youth orchestra program. This year, NJYS students are participating in a practice challenge to help raise funds for the event and have logged 279,500 minutes to date. To support music education at the New Jersey Youth Symphony and the 2021 Playathon, continue to give by texting MUSIC to 74121 or donating online at

Said Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo, “Although we cannot be together in person, the New Jersey Youth Symphony is super excited to present a virtual orchestra of over 300 musicians performing two of our Playathon favorites, Can-Can and Superman. We will also feature newly-created virtual performances by our Clarinet Ensemble and Charles Mingus Jazz Combo, as well as video messages from graduating seniors. It will be a true celebration of our beloved NJYS community and beyond!”

The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS), founded in 1979, is a tiered orchestral program offering ensemble education for students in grades 3-12 across New Jersey. NJYS has grown from one orchestra of 65 students to over 500 students in 15 different orchestras and ensembles, including the internationally recognized Youth Symphony. NJYS ensembles have performed in venues including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Carnegie Hall, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. NJYS has received numerous prestigious awards for its adventurous programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and has had six European tours, including participation in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Festival and Competition (Vienna), winning First Prizes in July 2014 and 2017.

The New Jersey Youth Symphony is a program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. Wharton is New Jersey’s largest non-profit performing arts education organization serving over 1,500 students of all ages and abilities through a range of classes and ensembles. In addition to the New Jersey Youth Symphony, programs include the Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema-inspired program that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing in its hometown of Paterson. Beginning with early childhood music classes for toddlers, the Performing Arts School offers 500 private lessons and group classes each week, ensuring there is something for everyone of all ages and abilities.