May, 2014


With the advent of Spring flowers also comes studio recitals, festivals, and many MusicLink performance events! It seems MusicLink Playathons are also "blooming" with lots of activity in malls that are described in this issue. We thank all those who took the initiative to actively participate in these activities, realizing the joy of students performing in a public venue while helping others have the opportunity to take music lessons through MusicLink. This issue highlights the playathons and other events occurring over the past few months, including photos of students who raised over $100 or more in their local playathons - enjoy!

Playathons Raise Over $14,500 for MusicLink

Organizations and MusicLink programs across the country are realizing the win-win of playathons where students can perform in a public mall for the public, raise donations for our MusicLink kids and earn prizes for their efforts. We applaud the following playathons for their success in raising over $14,500 for the MusicLink Foundation and for sharing music with the public through these performances.

Minnesota Playathon at the Mall of America

Sue Wege and Nicholas David

Saxophone Performers

On the weekend of February 8th & 9th, the Mall of America hosted Minnesota's sixth Annual MusicLink Playathon and it was another great success. Over 300 students registered for this event this year and raised over $11,000a new high. There were 19 more teachers involved this year with nine adult performances. The piano dominated the stage again with only 46 other instrumental or vocal performances throughout the weekend. The event was organized by Sue Wege, Director of Regional Coordinators and MidWest Coordinator for the MusicLink Foundation, along with her loyal team of volunteer teachers.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the appearance of Nicholas David, who was the 3rd place winner in the 3rd season of "The Voice". He graciously agreed to emcee for an hour and then perform. Nicholas is a former piano student of MMTA teacher, Mary Kay Lanz. Kathryn Knuttila Karg, Miss Minnesota 2010, also emceed for the event and performed 2 of her original compositions. The three top fundraising studios were: Marianne Bryan with 15 students: $1,075; Diana Mills with 16 students: $860; Kim Nichols with 34 students: $821.

Many thanks to Schmitt Music for providing a beautiful Boston grand piano, to the MMTA Office for helping with online registration and publicity and to all MMTA teachers who participated by sending students, volunteering and/or performing. Special thanks to Gary Wege for serving as photographer for this event. The money raised at this event will go a long way in providing support to our many MusicLink teachers and students.

New Hampshire Playathon
at the Powerhouse Mall

Northeast Regional Coordinator, Judy Vanesse organized a MusicLink Playathon on March 9, 2014 at the Powerhouse Mall in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, raising $345 for the MusicLink Foundation. The playathon included performances by 29 students of piano teachers, Margaret Stephens, Susan Downing, Ursula Emond and Judy Sanger and cello students of Linda Galvan. It is our hope that we will be able to include string teachers and guitar teachers at our next event. Patrons and passers by were very complimentary and it was an enjoyable day for all. Thanks also to Paul Vanesse for providing ongoing support in this event.

Virginia Playathon at Tysons Corner Center

Over 125 students representing 19 studios enjoyed a two-day MusicLink Playathon on May 2nd and 3rd at the Tysons Corner Center in Vienna, Virginia raising $3,500 for the MusicLink Foundation. Student pianists enjoyed performing on a brand new Steinway Model B provided by the Steinway Piano Gallery while others played in solo and ensemble groups on violin, cello, viola, bassoon, flute, and voice. One senior adult performed beautifully on harmonica. Livia Sutejo's studio had 40 students performing with a total contribution of $1,121; Lai Lan Ko had 18 students performing, donating a total of $425, while Bo Mi Cha had a mini-recital of her whole studio of 15 youngsters, with a total of $472 in donations.

Joanne Haroutounian, Executive Director of MusicLink organized the playathon with many NVMTA members providing support throughout the weekend. Special thanks to William Haroutounian, who handled donation collection and photography throughout the event.

Community Clean Sweep -
Instruments and Music for MusicLink

Pam Kempfle donates music.

A Community Clean Sweep was organized in New Holland, Pennsylvania on April 26th from 9 - 12 noon. MusicLink Foundation was one of the recipients of the overwhelming generosity of the community. Stations were set up and cars would pass by and unload their wares to the station of choice and it was all well organized and very fast paced. Judy Vanesse, Northeast Redional Coordinator and her husband traveled from Vermont to receive boxes of music, keyboards, guitars, an amplifier, mandolin, bongo drum and 4 snare drums. Estimated value of these in-kind donations totals over $4000. They returned with a very full truck! They have already distributed quite a bit of music to MusicLink teachers, keyboards to MusicLink kids in need and all in all, it was an event to remember!~ Thank you to the organizers for including MusicLink!

Justin Kauflin Performs
at the Kennedy Center

It is a rare opportunity when one gets to see the professional musician that MusicLink training nurtures from the start. Justin Kauflin was one of our first MusicLink students, when the program was only active in Virginia. I had the pleasure of enjoying a performance by this remarkable young man at the KC Jazz Club on May 2nd, smiling throughout realizing this is one of our many "success stories." - Joanne Haroutounian.

Justin began MusicLink lessons with Virginia Koun (VA) as an elementary school student. After losing his sight at age ten, "music became the driving force of Justin's growth as a child and his passion for piano became everything." He switched from classical to jazz piano in high school, graduating from William Patterson University with a degree in music/jazz performance and produced his first CD at age 23. He is now managed by Quincy Jones Productions with a new CD release due at the end of the year. Refer to for details.

MusicLink Students Perform
at Belmont Mansion

Lia Chiflamariam, Jonathan Chiflamariam,
Ashley Ondoua, Oscar Paz-Suaznabar

The Federal Masonic Lodge No. 1 of Washington DC organized a benefit recital for the MusicLink Foundation that featured the IBIS Chamber Music ensemble as well as four outstanding MusicLink pianists. Students had the rare treat of playing on a gold Steinway grand piano in the ballroom of the Belmont Mansion. The audience was thrilled with the performances of Lia Chiflamariam, Jonathan Chiflamariam, Ashley Ondoua, and Oscar Paz-Suaznabar - with a standing ovation for all! Our thanks to Paul Dolinsky and the members of Federal Lodge No. 1 for their support and generosity.

MusicLink Totals:

  • MusicLink Students Linked: 5,815
  • Hours of Instruction: 401,000 - equivalent to $10 million in-kind scholarship
  • Total Teachers: 2,147
  • Current Teacher Total: 362

New Teachers added in the past three months:

AK Freya Wardlaw-Bailey; CA: Amy Bhatager; ME: Rose Erwin; MN: Elsa Hosch, Kimberley Nichols; NY: Benjamin Steinhardt; ND: Anthony Eddleston, Kirci Wagner; OH: Karen Campo, Susan Selden; PA William Marshall; RI: Andy Rizzotti; SC: Alison Branham; VA: Kathy McGillicuddy; WA: Maria Sier, Diana Dallal (returning)



MusicLink Playathon Photos


VA: Bo Mi Cha Students

Students who Raised $250 or More

Alysha Heiss

Mallory Paine

Ajay Raman

Meranda Burton

Rylie Bode

Lucy & Rachel Ginter

Sophie Zook-Stanley

Jennifer & Julia Meles

Students Who Raised $100 or More

Joe Taylor

Carly Mumm

McKenna Wain

Katy & Grace Kroese

Nicholas Bobb

Michelle Bergh

Rachel Luchsinger

Kaleb Smith

Kalli Opsal

Alexa Sorensen

Sue Olson

Sahana & Suparna Bhatia

New Hampshire/Vermont:
Students Who Raised $100 or More

Paul Bundy

Students Who Raised $100 or More

Anderson Jones

Olivia & Zachary Tan

Amelia Williams

Marcus Tay

Dawit Seo

Linh Vu