FUN Concert Brings Families Together

Published: May 19, 2016 at 12:00 am


Linda Jones looked across the church hall that had filled with nearly 250 guests. Her organization, Families United in Newtown (FUN), held its annual benefit concert with dinner, dancing, raffles, and entertainment on Saturday, May 14, at Newtown Congregational Church.

Following a 50s and 60s theme with vinyl records hanging from the ceiling, volunteer high school students dressed in long, wide skirts. The many folding tables quickly filled with guests and diners.

Master of Ceremonies Bill Van Gieson soon stepped before the crowd, singing along with featured guest Jodi DiPiazza, a young adult with autism who has become a successful musical talent. She played piano and led guests through medleys and familiar songs.

A slideshow of her early childhood explained her diagnosis and her family's discovery of Ms DiPiazza's connection to music.

Also a guest at a FUN event last year, she said she was glad to return to Newtown.

Newtown High School students played trumpets, trombones, drums, the saxophone, and sang during a number of songs, at times accompanying Ms DiPiazza. Other Newtown residents also joined in. Songs included "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "See You Later Alligator," "Let It Be" and "Rock Around The Clock."

FUN is a recreational program in memory of Tyler Jones. FUN holds local events in Newtown that allow families with special needs children to participate in activities such as basketball, arts and crafts, bouncy castles, musical performances, and dancing.

"This is a chance," according to FUN's website, "for parents to get a much needed break as the kids are supervised by students from the local National Honor Society Chapter. All are welcome at these events, feel free to bring friends."

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