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Playing for food

Piano students raise thousands with their talents

Kathleen Samaniuk-Hayes of the Regional Food Bank; Liam Presser, who collected over $500 for the event; Mark Quandt, Regional Food Bank Executive Director; and NYSMTA event chairs Mary Moran, Noel Liberty and Paul Jennings.

Kathleen Samaniuk-Hayes of the Regional Food Bank; Liam Presser, who collected over $500 for the event; Mark Quandt, Regional Food Bank Executive Director; and NYSMTA event chairs Mary Moran, Noel Liberty and Paul Jennings. Submitted Photo

— At the end of October, 100 piano students raised more than $6,500 for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and on Wednesday, Dec. 14, teachers from the New York State Music Teachers Association presented a check to food bank reps.

“… We were extremely thankful for the children who donated their time, talent and treasure to help those in need,” said Mary Moran, one of the event organizers.

Musicians who participated in this year’s NYSTMA evaluations spent a day playing piano in the middle of Colonie Center. Each student had to raise at least $15 prior to the event and shoppers dropped change and donations off on the day of the fundraiser.

“It was important for the kids to give back and to know that their talents could be used to give to the community,” said Noel Liberty, director of The Music Studio.

Students from the piano school on Central Avenue in Colonie lent their talents to the musical fundraiser too, performing songs on piano that ranged from pop to jazz to classical and breaking to sing and offer arrangements on Orff instruments.

“They really enjoyed it but also worked really hard to make it work,” said Liberty.

The young musicians were raising money for the food bank but, more specifically, with victims of Tropical Storm Irene in mind. Liberty said everyone grasped the message loud and clear.

“To all the kids, big or little, they understand how important food is. The kids made cards and they were really heartfelt, good wishes for the people who suffered,” said Liberty.

Each person who gets food from the food bank will also get a handwritten note from the kids.

“The kids spent an incredible amount of time on these. The kids’ thoughts of ‘I hope this helps you’ were very sweet. I think it made it more real for them,” said Liberty.

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