July 22, 2024
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White Plains’ Ethan Donn Performs on Autism Awareness Day at Citi Field

On Sunday, August 15, Ethan Donn performed “God Bless America” before the Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers game at Citi Field. It was Autism Awareness Day, which was perfect for Ethan to showcase “someone overcoming their own disability to perform music on the highest levels.”

Ethan, born and raised in White Plains, was diagnosed with autism around the age of 2. He always liked music, so when he was just 4 years old, his father would show him musical videos on YouTube. “I still don’t know how, but he would find the Three Tenors and listen to [them] and André Rieu,” said Jeff Donn, Ethan’s father.

Ethan always liked violins and by the age of 4, he was walking around holding one. Soon he was carrying a violin along with a stethoscope. Jeff and his wife joked that Ethan would either be a doctor or a musician. At first, it was difficult for Ethan to find the right type of music teacher, but once he did, he stuck with it.

Ethan is now 20 years old, but his disability does not define or limit him in achieving his musical dreams. He is limited verbally but excels exceptionally in music. “When Ethan sings or performs on his violin or piano, one can’t tell that he has autism,” said Jeff.

Ethan focused on finding his abilities and developing them, and he loves to perform. He has gone from performing for the Friendship Circle in front of a handful of people to thousands of people at a stadium. He performed for the Mets the last two seasons, and virtually for the New York Yankees and New Jersey Devils this season.

Over the years, Ethan has performed for St. John’s, Seton Hall and Rutgers college basketball for the men’s and women’s teams. In addition, he has performed the National Anthem for such teams as the Westchester Knicks, Iona College men’s and women’s basketball, and the Rockland Boulders baseball team. Ethan even sang in the chorus at Carnegie Hall from 2018 to 2019 and has a credit on IMDb for a song he wrote for the movie “Victims,” currently playing on Amazon Prime.

“Ethan loves being on stage, that is where he lights up, and that is where he is supposed to be,” said Jeff proudly. “It is his happy spot. Ethan has autism, but autism does not have Ethan, and does not stand in the way of him achieving his dreams.”

By Julianne Katz

 

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