Two Fort Plain siblings to perform in ‘Playathon’ fundraiser today

ALBANY — Two Fort Plain siblings in The Empire State Youth Orchestra are set to play in the organization’s largest fundraising event, the “Playathon” today.

Keziah Dunn, 13, and Jodi Dunn, 17, who are siblings will both perform at the “Playathon” today. Keziah Dunn who plays the cello is in the ESYO Repertory Orchestra which is scheduled to perform from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. Jodi Dunn, who plays the violin will perform in the ESYO Youth Orchestra which is scheduled to perform from 3:35 to 4:05 p.m.

“I love playing at the ‘Playathon’ because it’s the largest event for ESYO and it’s a great opportunity for the Capital District to see us play,” Jodi Dunn said.

Jodi Dunn plays a violin that her brother, Thomas Dunn had made. Kristen Dunn, their mom, said he made the violin for Jodi five years ago. She said he works as a master violin maker at Frirsz Music Company. Jodi Dunn is also the runner-up of the Conserto Competition and will be playing a movement from Bruch: Concerto 1 at a May 5 concert at the Zankel Music Hall in Saratoga.

Kristen Dunn said the “Playathon” is the “most eye opening” experience — the fact that the organization can bring together musicians of so many different ages.

Becky Calos, executive director said the “Playathon” is the orchestra’s largest fundraiser event because it’s the only time all of the performing ensembles come together.

“It’s great to see all the kids enjoy each other’s music,” Calos said.

The “Playathon” this Saturday is from 11 a.m. 6:30 p.m. at Crossgates Mall. According to the press release, the fundraiser is free and open to the public. ESYO has a set $50,000 fundraising goal in efforts to support the organization.

Hundreds of musicians from the ESYO will come together to share their love of music with the community. According to the release,”Playathon” features 11 musical ensembles that include percussion, Jazz and classical ensembles.

This year will also be the last “Playathon” for Music Director Helen Cha-Pyo, who will be stepping down at the end of the season. By the end of June, Cha-Pyo will have been the music director of ESYO for 16 years. Cha-Pyo said she will then continue her career at the New Jersey Youth Symphony. She said what she would like to achieve by the end of the season is “continuing growing in numbers and in level of excellence.”

“I absolutely love this day because it means being part of a community event that touches lives. It is so uplifting to see excited faces in the crowd, as many are hearing our musicians for the very first time. We also auction off opportunities for anyone to conduct the orchestral ensembles. Sharing music with others is a joyful experience and connects humanity,” Cha-Pyo said in the press release.

Calos said throughout the “Playathon” they will auction off a baton about five or six times during the day and the winners will get the chance to conduct one of the orchestral ensembles. She said they will also auction off tickets to a piano battle between pianists Andreas Kern and Paul Cibis, who is with ESYO. The two will go head-to-head on Feb. 11 at Proctors from 3 to 5 p.m.

Anyone interested in donating to the organization prior to the “Playathon” can do so at https://esyo.org/os/event/2018playathon/. The performance schedule may also be found at that link.

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