On Jan.15 at Eastview Mall in Victor, Suzuki Piano Teachers’ Association held the Piano Play-A-Thon to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong Memorial Hospital.

“We held a Practice-A-Thon before holding the Play-A-Thon so that students could raise as much money as they were able to,” chair- person of the Rochester-area Suzuki Piano Teachers’ Association Roberta Honadle said.

“We have done this in the past, not on a regular basis, but periodically. This is the most successful turnout we have had so far,” she said.

Over the fall, piano students gathered donations from family and friends.

These donors pledged that they would give a certain amount of money for every minute the pianist spent practicing the piano each day for two weeks in December.

The young pianists, ranging from age 4 to 18, worked hard throughout this practice time and were finally able to show off their progress at the Eastview Mall.

“Several of my five-year-old students performed,” Honadle said. “We had recitals starting on the hour, and the children brought the money that they had received from collecting pledges. We had some kids who raised more than $300,” Honadle said.

A total of 75 students who were taught by eight different teachers participated in the Play-A-Thon from the greater Rochester area.

“We raised about $3,500 for Golisano Children’s Hospital and there are still more donations trickling in,” Honadle said.

“I have not talked to the treasurer yet, but she has also received some more donations,” she said.

A few of the students were unable to perform at Eastview Mall, but their pledges are still being collected as well,” Honadle said.

The teachers chose to donate the money to Golisano Childrens’ Hospital because one of the teachers within the association has a grandson who was treated there for leukemia.

This teacher was thrilled by how wonderfully the Childrens’ Hospital had treated her grandson and she therefore wanted to give back as much as she could.

The Play-A-Thon drew much interest at Eastview Mall, demonstrating how many people also have appreciated the hospital.

“We placed 80 chairs around the performance area. These chairs were filled at every recital and there were people standing around as well,” Honadle said.

“Some on-lookers even donated money, which we were very appreciative of,” she said. “It is great to see the community encouraging and supporting out pianists.”

The Play-A-Thon not only gathered immediate interest at Eastview Mall, but also greater attention from the media.

“Mary Macolms [a news anchor] was there, and so was Glen Johnson, the Channel 13 weather anchor,” Honadle said.

The pianists were also very excited about having so much attention surrounding their cause.

None of them were expecting to have so many onlookers.

There was also a breid article in the Sunday paper.

“We are very proud of all the coverage and attention the event received,” Honadle said.

“It is a wonderful cause and we hope to continue events like this in the future,” Honadle said.

“We are very proud of all the children and their accomplishment,” she said.

Ricketts can be reached at aricketts@campustimes.org.

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