In Gov. Martin O’Malley’s April 27 letter to Piano for Youth, he proclaimed that the “[Piano for Youth] organization is dedicated to creating a friendly and pleasant atmosphere for music education.” The Maryland based organization Piano for Youth (PFY) celebrated its 10th anniversary at Johns Hopkins University’s Parsons Auditorium at the Applied Physics Laboratory Campus in Laurel, Md. headlined by its performing sector of young pianists aged 9-14 called the Children’s Piano Choir.
The group played a diverse array of compositions, among them, the classic jazz tune Linus & Lucy from the Charlie Brown cartoon, Beethoven’s Fur Elise and a Latin jazz original composition Hola Hola, from the organization’s director and co-founder Diana Wharton-Sennaar. Under Sennaar’s direction the organization has offered private piano lessons to over 200 students throughout Maryland in over 20 communities. A Baltimore native and former music teacher of the Howard County Public School System, Sennaar is a graduate of Howard University and a founding member of Sweet Honey in the Rock. She is also the composer for Ntozake Shange’s Broadway hit For Colored Girls…a composer for PBS Children’s Television show Getting to Know Me, a Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts in Jazz Composition, to name a few of her credits.
With a mission of providing opportunities for youth leadership, community service and affordable and accessible quality music education, Sennaar travels to the homes of her students and provides scholarships to many through Piano for Youth’s Adopt-A-Piano-Scholar initiative. Through the program, Ms. Sennaar matches prospective low-income piano students to sponsoring organizations and individuals to cover expenses for piano lessons through PFY. This work is dear to her heart and is her way of giving back. In a Certificate of Recognition, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, “We would like to recognize your accomplishments and unwavering devotion to music and our City’s youth.”
The Children’s Piano Choir has its next performance, May 10, at the Jersey City Public Library in New Jersey. For booking inquiries for the Children’s Piano Choir, private piano lessons with a discount, or to Adopt-A-Piano-Scholar, contact Piano for Youth at pianoforyouth.weebly.com, [email protected], 410-900-2055.
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