A Musical Extravaganza: Empire State Youth Orchestras’ Annual Playathon!

Playathon is ESYO’s annual fundraiser and friend-raiser, featuring free live music by ESYO musicians throughout the day at Crossgates Mall in Albany, NY.   Usually held in the beginning of February, Playathon brings 300+ ESYO musicians to the mall to perform with their respective groups – it’s a day of making music and helping to educate the public about ESYO’s program.

Sponsored in 2014 by Northeastern Fine Jewelry, Playathon has become a family-friendly event in the Capital Region, giving kids from 1 to 100 a chance to get “up close and personal” with the orchestras and smaller ensembles of ESYO.  Situated in the middle of the mall, the musicians (very easy to spot in their neon-yellow t-shirts) perform a variety of music from classical favorites to swinging jazz tunes to Sousa marches and even some amazing contemporary percussion music.

Shoppers at the mall are also entertained by the “Crazy Conductor” who introduces the “real” conductors and their musicians and also serves as “auctioneer-par-excellence”"as he entices the audience to make bids to win the conductors’ batons and lead the orchestras as they perform.

Playathon also provides an opportunity for folks at the mall to let out their “inner musicians” as they try various instruments that make up a “musical petting zoo” courtesy of John Keal Music.

A great chance for the public to learn more about the breadth and depth of ESYO, Playathon is also a key fundraising event for ESYO.  2014 was a record-breaking year with more than $25,000 being raised in donations from collections by musicians before the event (both in person and on-line) , from donations received during the event, and from the very successful conductor-baton-auctions.

STAY TUNED FOR ESYO’s 2015 PLAYATHON scheduled for February 7!  Check here in January for a detailed schedule of the individual performances.