'Dueling Tonys' to take stage for Special Connections fundraiser in Morris

MORRIS – The dueling pianos of Tony DeBlois and Tony Kidonakis will return to Morris on Jan. 6 to raise money for Special Connections of Grundy County and Trinity Services of North Central Illinois.

This marks the sixth year that DeBlois, an international performer, has put on a show locally.

DeBlois, who is blind and autistic, sings in 11 languages, plays 23 instruments and knows more than 8,000 songs.

“It’s always a different and new show,” said Jennifer Price, president of Special Connections and director of Trinity Services. “You never know what you will get with the dynamic of the two Tonys.”

The dueling piano show has become so popular that the two Tonys have taken it on the road, but return each January to Morris, where they began playing together. Kidonakis is a Morris native.

“Since they’ve played together so often, it’s a fun and exciting show,” Price said.

Price said the event has proved to be one of the biggest of the year in terms of fundraising and awareness for Special Connections.

The proceeds from the show will benefit two organizations that work together to help people with special needs find employment, compete in sporting events and participate in social events.

Price said Special Connections is always looking for opportunities to expand the programs it offers.

Special Connections provides those with special needs the chance to participate in Special Olympics, local dance classes and social events.

Price said she hopes to continue to expand programs for younger residents with special needs, as well as for those with greater needs, so they have options when becoming involved locally.

Price, who has a child with special needs, said she learned about DeBlois’ talent after watching a Lifetime movie made about the DeBlois family, and she knew she wanted to bring him to Morris.



WHAT: ‘The Dueling Tonys’ featuring Tony DeBlois and Tony Kidonakis

WHEN: 7 to 9:30 p.m. Jan. 6

WHERE: Immaculate Conception Church, 516 E. Jackson St., Morris.

COST: Tickets cost $20 for adults, kids age 12 and younger are $10.

ETC: Tickets are available at the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce, 909 Liberty St. in Morris; Standard Bank, 1111 W. Route 6 in Morris; The Turf Team, 4620 W. Route 6 in Morris; online at specialconnections.org or by calling 815-545-3397. Sponsorship opportunities also are available online.