Teen pianist Shayne Harrell recently harnessed his musical talents to create a CD of his performances and made it available for sale in order to raise funds for local non-profit agency Project Self-Sufficiency.  The CD is a compilation of pieces prepared by Shayne over the past few years as part of a recent evaluation by the Piano Guild, a division of the American College of Musicians, a non-profit organization which encourages growth and enjoyment through the study of piano.  The production of the CD was supervised by his enthusiastic piano teacher, Margaret Korczynski, of the Sussex County Music Workshop.  Pieces by Bach, Handel and Burgmuller are among the ten works presented on the CD. 

Seventeen-year-old Shayne, a student at Pope John High School in Sparta, is no stranger to community service.  He is currently serving as President of the National Honor Society at his school.  He has also participated in food drives for Project Self-Sufficiency, assisted with programs for special needs children and serves as an usher at his church.  He settled on Project Self-Sufficiency as the beneficiary of the funds from his CD because of the agency’s broad-based appeal.  “I wanted to do something with my ability to play piano, and I thought that a good way to raise funds would be to make a CD.  I chose Project Self-Sufficiency because it appeals to all of Sussex County, and not just a specific group.”

Students of the Sussex County Music Workshop, which is co-directed by Margaret and her husband, Edward, are often encouraged to use their musical gifts to benefit others.  “One of the best ways to perform community service is to work in a field that the student is strong in,” commented Margaret recently.  “Organizing a concert is extremely difficult, so one of the best ways to raise money is to create a CD.”  For example, during the past eight years, young piano students from the Sussex County Music Workshop have been mentoring special needs students at the nearby Walnut Ridge elementary school.  A CD developed of classical repertoire performed by these students has been sold to benefit the special education department of the school.

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Margaret praises the efforts of all her students, noting, “Who wants to play the piano?  Only hard-working kids!  Shayne is a lovely young man.  He works very diligently at the piano.  He came up with this concept himself.  He learned interesting pieces of music and now he is selling it.”

Project Self-Sufficiency is the only organization in the area whose mission is to provide the services necessary for single parents, teen parents, displaced homemakers and two-parent families to improve the quality of their lives, and those of their children, by attaining economic self-sufficiency and family stability.  Since 1986, over 19,500 low-income individuals and more than 30,000 children have participated in one or more of the programs offered by the organization.  Project Self-Sufficiency offers a supportive family-centered environment where life issues are addressed through a combination of individual counseling, peer support groups, case management services, parenting skills training, life skills management training, home visits, childcare and early childhood education, family activities and health education.  For information about the programs and services offered at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.