Non-stop har­mony of young mu­si­cians to help griev­ing kids

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Western Palm Beach County - - In Focus - By Faran Fa­gen Spe­cial to The Palm Beach Post

With each note, young mu­si­cians play­ing to an au­di­ence at a crowded mall do their part to help cre­ate a sense of peace for griev­ing chil­dren.

An un­bro­ken har­mony has graced Palm Beach Gar­dens Mall the last five years dur­ing the hol­i­days. And now, more than 150 tal­ented mu­sic stu­dents from South Florida are polishing their in­stru­ments in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the sixth an­nual, 12-hour­long, Mu­sic-Thon on Satur­day.

Gui­tarists, pi­anists, vi­o­lin­ists and other mu­si­cians aged 5 to 17 years old will play non-stop to raise funds to direc tly ben­e­fit Camp VITAS, a be­reave­ment camp that pro­vides sup­port to chil­dren and teens who have lost a loved one.

“It’s al­ways very grat­i­fy­ing to per­form at this event,” said VITAS Mu­sic Ther­a­pist Thomas A. Dal­ton, who leads the event each year. “The Mu­sic-Thon gives the per­form­ers an op­por­tu­nity to use their tal­ents to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of oth­ers, and feel like they are a part of the heal­ing process for these chil­dren in need.”

The Mu­sic-Thon runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with its well-known chil­dren’s gui­tar orches­tra tak­ing the stage at 12:30 p.m.

The lo­cal mu­sic stu­dents raise money through pledges and spon­sors prior to the Mu­sic-Thon. The event is open to the pub­lic and do­na­tions dur­ing the Mu­sic-Thon are wel­comed. Do­na­tions can also be made to https://­mu­nity-con­nec­tion/camp-vi­tas­do­na­tion-form.

Some of the mu­sic teach­ers whose stu­dents are par- VITAS mu­sic ther­a­pist Thomas A. Dal­ton (sec­ond left), and the Broward mu­sic ther­apy team per­form at last year’s an­nual Mu­sic-Thon fundraiser to ben­e­fit griev­ing chil­dren and teens. This year’s event is set for Satur­day. tic­i­pat­ing in the Mu­sic-Thon are: Pat John­son, Su­san Dalhl be r g , Jo s e ph L a B o nt e and MaryAnn Rothchild /LaBonte, San­dra Baran, Azura and Michael Bies, and Sally Priv­ett.

The mu­si­cal fundraiser is spon­sored by VITAS Com­mu­nit y Con­nec tion, the charit able arm of VITAS Health­care, a provider of end-of-life care. VCC pro­vides as­sis­tance to hospice fam­i­lies in need through pri­vate do­na­tions and part­ners with mu­si­cally gifted chil­dren in an ef­fort to bring com­fort to griev­ing youths.

“It’s tremen­dously grat­i­fy­ing to be part of this spec­tac­u­lar event that has been able to send more than 200 chil­dren in need of grief coun­sel­ing to Camp VITAS for free,” Dal­ton said. “The fact that the mu­sic teach­ers and their stu­dents ded­i­cate their time and tal­ents to raise money for Camp VITAS is a very heart­warm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. I re­ally en­joy the per­for­mances of the ex­tremely tal­ented chil­dren, many of which are the best young mu­si­cian in Palm County and the Trea­sure Coast.”

The Mu­sic-Thon be­gan be­cause of Dal­ton’s con­nec­tion with MaryAnn Rothchild and Joseph Labonte of the Cam­bridge School of Mu­sic. They started col­lab­o­rat­ing many years ago to or­ga­nize and pro­duce this ben­e­fit event.

Dal­ton’s 20 years of mu­sic ther­apy ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes help­ing chil­dren and adults use the power of mu­sic to help trans­form their lives. This is the sixth con­sec­u­tive year of the fundraiser, which has helped raise thou­sands of dol­lars and en­abled VITAS to send more than 200 griev­ing chil­dren to Camp VITAS free of charge.

The overnight camp — which will be held in Jan­uary 2017 at Dis­ney’s Fort Wilder­ness camp­ground in Or­lando — is of­fered free of charge to 30 to 35 campers on a first-come, first-served ba­sis and in­cludes a ticket to Dis­ney’s An­i­mal King­dom, all meals, trans­porta­tion and camp­ing equip­ment. The camp pro­vides chil­dren with sup­port and a safe en­vi­ron­ment while teach­ing them ways of cop­ing with grief, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease from VITAS Health­care..

Camp VITAS rec­og­nizes that chil­dren’s grief may look dif­fer­ent than that of adults, but it shares fun­da­men­tal sim­i­lar­i­ties as a phys­i­cal and emo­tional re­ac­tion to the loss of a sig­nif­i­cant loved one, the re­lease said.

If you know a child who needs be­reave­ment sup­port, in­quire about at­tend­ing Camp VITAS via Thomas. Dal­

Camp VITAS hosted griev­ing chil­dren and teens for the fifth con­sec­u­tive year on April 8-9 this year. The grief camp, which reached full ca­pac­ity, was funded by VITAS’ fifth an­nual Mu­sic-Thon fundraiser held in De­cem­ber 2015 at The Gar­dens Mall.


VITAS Health­care held its fifth an­nual Chil­dren’s Hol­i­day Mu­sic-Thon last year at The Gar­dens Mall in Palm Beach Gar­dens. Chil­dren raised thou­sands of dol­lars through pledges, spon­sors and di­rect do­na­tion dur­ing the event to ben­e­fit Camp VITAS, a be­reave­ment camp that pro­vides sup­port to chil­dren and teens who have lost a loved one. This year’s event is set for Satur­day.

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