Eastern Mennonite University student Alexa Lahr performs during the Harrisonburg Music Teachers Association's first Play-A-Thon benefit in downtown Harrisonburg. The April 13 event benefited the Family Music Project, which helps provide music education to children with fewer resources. (Photos by Natalie Doughty)

Sidewalk art: Students bring music to the streets in HMTA Play-A-Thon

Eastern Mennonite University students performed in downtown Harrisonburg last weekend as part of the first-ever Harrisonburg Music Teachers Association (HMTA) Play-A-Thon.

The four-hour benefit for music education was centered around an acoustic upright piano on the outdoor courtyard of the Massanutten Regional Library Central Library.

Elizabeth Eby and Isaac Longacre perform selections from “Beauty and the Beast.”

Performers ranged from beginners to professionals and spanned genres from classical to bluegrass. They included EMU musical theater artists  Elizabeth Eby, Tyler Goss, Isaac Longacre, Andrew Stoltzfus, Richard Vo and Lucas Wenger, plus singer-songwriter Alexa Lahr, violinist Evelina Kilimnik, clarinetist Robert Chaplin and violinist Ada Zhang, who is dual-enrolled at EMU and Eastern Mennonite School.

EMU professor and HMTA president David Berry and preparatory music instructors Kelly Wiedemann and Megan Tiller also performed, as did local piano students.

Preparatory music instructors Kelly Wiedemann (left) and Megan Tiller perform bluegrass fiddle music.

The audience was also invited to participate in a walk-up community art painting project provided by Shenandoah Valley Arts Mobile. Additional event sponsors also included Whitesel Music, the library, and friends and family of the performing student musicians.

A grant from Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance provided major funding for the event, a benefit for the Family Music Project, which helps provide music education to children with fewer resources.

Additional photos are available on the HMTA Facebook page.

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