The Advocate

A newsletter for the music education community of Western PA

Cello Donation Winner

Congratulations to Helayna Baer, the recipient of our cello donation scholarship! Helayna is a high school junior who has been playing cello for almost 8 years. She is a very disciplined and dedicated musician who has already accomplished a great deal at her young age. She has earned the role of principal cellist with PYCO and was the winner of their concerto competition last year.

Helayna is also very dedicated to volunteer work through performing music. In her own words, “sharing my love for music with others is my favorite way to give back to the community.” She regularly performs for nursing homes, her church, and the local library. She has also participated in the Pittsburgh Symphony’s “Musicians of Steel” fundraiser and a Tree of Life Dedication Concert.

Prior to receiving this cello donation, Heleyna was borrowing a cello from the Pittsburgh Cello Studio. That cello she had been playing was also a scholarship instrument, which was available for her to use through her high school career. As she is entering into her senior year and now has her own instrument, the one she had been playing will be passed along to another young cellist in the studio to aid them in their studies. The legacy will continue!

Upon graduation, Helayna aspires to major in chemistry or physics and astronomy and minor in cello performance. She knows that she wants to continue to experience as many new opportunities as she can as a cellist. And regarding the cello she received from Johnstonbaugh’s Music Centers and the Farina Foundation, she writes, “I assure you that the instrument would be well used, well loved, and that, either through my music or something greater, I would like to pass on the kindness the world has shown me thus far, and to inspire other young musicians to embrace all of their passions no matter how different they are.”

Seeking Instrument Donations!

Do you have an instrument that is no longer being played and is ready for a new home? Do you want to make an impact in your community? PMEA District 1, The Farina Foundation, and The Education Partnership are teaming up to put musical instruments into the hands of students who need them throughout Southwestern PA.

The Farina Foundation, a local independent 501c3 charity founded in 2015 to continue the legacy of Frank J. Farina, Jr., former Chairman of the North Allegheny Music Department, believes EVERY child should have the opportunity to fulfill their musical aspirations. The Farina Foundation, in collaboration with The Education Partnership, has made it their mission is to provide school resources for students and their teachers at underserved schools throughout SWPA. They are now seeking to collect any unused instruments that could still have music left in them.

Please consider instruments that you are not currently using that could be repaired into something that could help those in need and desire to start instrumental music. Instruments will go to The Farina Foundation for refurbishment and storage until they can be re-distributed this coming school year to students in need via The Education Partnership or The Farina Foundation.

Musical instruments that are being collected:

- Instruments small enough to be carried by one (1) person

- Instruments that are in good working condition, or require light to moderate repairs

Individuals who may have instruments to donate can fill out a form found here and submit it to Upon approval of the donation, The Farina Foundation will contact you to coordinate donation of the instrument.

Schools in PMEA District 1 who may have instruments to donate can contact PMEA here. Somebody will be in contact with you shortly after that with logistics. All instruments selected for donation will be picked up from your school directly over the summer months.

If you know of a particular student who needs a specific instrument, any teacher or parent can go to The Farina Foundation website to fill out the Play-it-Forward form and make a request.

For more information or to answer any questions, please reach out to The Farina Foundation directly at:

You can help provide deserving children with the means to pursue their passion for music!

Teacher Spotlight: Sun Chang

Join us in welcoming our newest piano teacher at Johnstonbaugh's Music Centers!

Sun is a pianist and harpsichordist who is now in the Pittsburgh area. She graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s in piano performance, and from the Royal Academy of Music in London with a Master’s in harpsichord performance.

She has performed as a soloist with many orchestras, including the Utah Symphony and Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, and was a featured artist on “Live from WFMT.” However, she enjoys chamber music the most and has traveled all over the world on a cruise ship as part of a piano quintet!

Educating people has been a major part of Sun’s musical journey. She has over a decade of experience, but what sets her apart is her approach to music as a holistic endeavour. She believes that music education can and should be fun, inclusive, challenging, and life-changing, and equips her students with tools that they can apply not only to piano practice but also to many aspects of their lives.

For more information, visit

Sun is offering both virtual lessons and in-person lessons at Allison Park. If you are interested in taking lessons with her, please fill out a lesson referral form here.

Free Outdoor Concert - River City Brass Band

Sunday, June 13th, 7:30pm

200 Hartwood Acres

Pittsburgh, PA

America's favorite brass band, founded in Pittsburgh in 1981. It's always a blast! Food trucks and Hop Farm Brewing Company craft beer will be there starting at 6:00 pm. All Hartwood Acres concerts take place rain or shine at open-air amphitheaters with no covered seating.

Tell us what you think.

This newsletter is for you! If there is something that you wish to know more about or have questions about, please let us know. We will do our best to get you the information you need.
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Issued June 7, 2021

Newsletter by Dennis Emert and Allyson Huneycutt