Proceeds will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Anne Sears

Some of the students who performed in the 2011 Performathon

Westminster Choir College of Rider University will host the Sixth Annual New Jersey Music Teachers Association (NJMTA) Children Helping Children Performathon Saturday, February 25 from 1 to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 26 from 1 to 9:30 p.m. on the Westminster campus in Princeton.

The Performathon is an opportunity for students of all ages and levels of ability to share their involvement in music for both artistic enrichment and community service.  Betty Stoloff, adjunct associate professor in Piano, is leading this effort for NJMTA.  This year funds raised by the participants will be contributed to support Ronald McDonald Houses in New Brunswick, Long Branch and Camden, N.J.

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) “create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children.”  The Ronald McDonald Houses are usually connected to a local children’s hospital.  They provide a “home away from home” for families whose children are undergoing intensive treatment at the hospital.

Mrs. Stoloff's knowledge and admiration of the Ronald McDonald Houses comes out of personal experience.  Twelve years ago, she and her husband spent two months living at a RMDH while their younger daughter, Becca, was undergoing intensive treatment at the Dupont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del.

There happened to be a piano in this House and, after a few weeks Ms. Stoloff arranged for a tuner and some repairs on the instrument.  She was able to play the piano for herself and for other residents.  "It helped me and it helped others," she said.   "Music does work miracles."

Becca's story is inspiring.  Many of her mother’s colleagues remember that on January 14, 2000 she was told that Becca would not make it through the night.  Now, 12 years later, Becca is studying human motor control at the University of California, Berkeley in a Bio-Engineering, Neuro-Science PHD Program. 

Last year, the Sixth Annual Performathon raised over $16,000. More than 250 performers and 45 teachers were involved in that effort.  The planning committee hopes to exceed that number this year.

Saturday, February 25 from 1 to 9:30 p.m. eight recitals will be held in Bristol Chapel and seven recitals will be held on Sunday, February 26 from 1 to 9:30 p.m. in Williamson Hall on the Westminster campus. The performances will be organized in one-hour recitals, with 45 minutes devoted to music and 15 minutes devoted to awards and photos.