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This year's Special Music School Play-a-Thon is on May 4!

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For information about how to sponsor an SMS student in this year’s Play-a-Thon, visit smsplayathon.com, call 212 501 3390, or inquire at the Play-a-thon table at Barnes & Noble on May 4.

On Saturday, May 4, 2013, the Parents’ Association of Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School/P.S. 859 will host the 13th annual concert and book fair at the Union Square Barnes & Noble (33 E. 17th St., 4th Fl.). Proceeds from this all-day concert support music education for students at SMS, a K-12 New York City public school for musically gifted children. A majority of SMS’s exceptionally talented 135 students in kindergarten through eighth grade will give solo performances at this popular all-day community gathering. Performances by the children, ages five through 14, will range from basic pieces to virtuosic showpieces by composers such as Paganini and Shostakovich. The concert, which takes place from 10 am to 7:15 pm, is free to the public.

Barnes & Noble will donate up to 20% of the sale of all merchandise purchased with an SMS voucher on May 4 to the school’s music program. Friends and families of SMS students and the public may show their support by purchasing any merchandise with an SMS voucher (available at the Play-a-thon), or by buying books needed in the classroom and donating them to the school.

Special Music School is the only K-12 public school in the U.S. that offers music instruction during the regular school day starting in kindergarten. The school represents a unique public/private partnership between Kaufman Music Center, a nonprofit arts organization, and the New York City Department of Education, which funds the academic portion of the students’ education. The music program is funded entirely by Kaufman Music Center through private donations. As with all public schools, tuition is free. Founded in 1996 as a K-8 program, SMS will expand into the high school grades beginning in the fall of 2013.