BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ —Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will hold its annual Halloween Playdown on Monday, October 29 at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts School located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. Families and children of all ages are invited to come in costume to watch as violin students, under the direction of faculty member Elzbieta Winnicki, perform selections from the Suzuki Method books 1-5 together as one ensemble. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments and treats will be served. For more information about the Halloween Playdown, visit www.whartonarts.org.

Violinist Elzbieta Winnicki has been teaching violin at the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts for fifteen years. Since 1988, she has served as an active chamber and orchestral coach for the New Jersey Youth Orchestra. Past teaching experience includes the Hudson School for the Gifted, the Mustard Seed School in Hoboken, and nearly a quarter-century of private studio teaching. She holds a degree in Violin Performance and Music Education from the Academy of Music in Wrocław, Poland. She continued violin studies in the United States with Masako Yanagita, Oscar Ravina of the New York Philharmonic, and Burton Kaplan. She has attended several teaching workshops and seminars at the Hartt School of Music, Juilliard School of Music, the Starling-DeLay Symposium, and the American String Teachers Association Conference. Her professional engagements include concerts as a soloist and chamber musician at the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Polish Cultural Foundation. Her orchestral experiences include Riverside Symphonia, New Jersey Philharmonic, Saint Peters by the Sea Orchestra, Montclair Chamber Orchestra, and the Szczecin Symphony Orchestra in Poland. She has performed in major concert halls in New York and New Jersey including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and NJPAC. She has toured Italy, Germany, and South Korea and has performed at the Spoleto Festival in Italy as well as the Bedford Spring Festival in Pennsylvania.

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.

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Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,500 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 – 12 by audition. Beginning with Out of the Box Music and Pathways classes for young children, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theater program.

Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project (PMP) is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. PMP provides intensive, free musical training to students throughout Paterson after school. PMP launched its first site at the Community Charter School (CCSP) of Paterson in January 2013 with 32 second graders and has since added a new class of students each year. Since its inception, PMP has partnered with the Paterson Public Schools to open the Paterson Public School 1 and 26 site as well as the CCSP 21st Century Community Learning Center Program to start a winds and brass middle school program. Last year, PMP partnered with William Paterson University’s Music After School Program to create a central band site at the Norman S. Weir School to serve over 60 students. This year, Paterson Music Project will be partnering with the Rosa Parks Performing Arts High School in Paterson to host the PMP Saturday Program which includes large ensemble rehearsal, Community Choir, Afro-Fusion Percussion Ensemble, and private lessons. There are now over 250 students in the program across the city of Paterson grades 1-8.

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 10 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.