|January 19, 2023 ||News Channel 5 Nashville||"Nolensville High School band director honored with music teacher award from Barry Manilow" by Brianna Hamblin|
|Ahead of Barry Manilow's Bridgestone Arena performance this weekend, he is taking time to recognize a local music teacher. Nolensville High School Director of Bands Benjamin Easley won the Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award. With it, he will [receive] $5,000 cash and another $5,000 in "Manilow Bucks" to support the school band. Easley said the money will go toward getting some new instruments for his students. "I just think it's really neat that his career has not just been a selfishly motivated, inwardly focused thing. That it's actually going to affect generations because of the way they choose to support music specifically in the public schools," said Easley. Easley said he is so grateful to both Manilow and the support from the Nolensville community.|
Manilow has been awarding music teachers across the country in different cities as he goes on tour. Easley won it for the Nashville area. He has been with the school since it opened in 2016 and was able to build the band from scratch, going from only 23 members to about 160 over the last seven years. He said he grew up listening to Manilow with his parents. "I grew up with music educator parents. My dad was my band director and my mom was a concert pianist. I grew up on that whole era of Barry Manilow and the Dewey Brothers, Earth Wind and Fire, and James Taylor. There's dusty old VHS's somewhere at 5 years old belting out [his] stuff..."<! said Manilow.> Now he and some of his family are excited to meet Manilow backstage at his show on Friday night.
The Manilow Music Project has given out more than $10 million worth to music programs in schools across the country.
|January 19, 2023 ||WTOC-11||"Meeting Manilow: Savannah band teacher talks about big night, big award from music icon: Reginald Mitchell was awarded $10,000 for his band program at Savannah High" by Sam Bauman|
|SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - At Savannah High you don’t have to look far to find people who haven’t been impacted by Reginald Mitchell. “He has done everything for us, outside and inside of school. He’s been a great mentor to all of us,” said senior Keshawn Dickson. “Every time I had a problem, I could always go to him. Talk about problems at home and everything,” added fellow senior Vanessa Gutierrez. “He’s an unsung hero. He doesn’t ask for much. He just does it for the love of Blue Jacket Nation and our scholars,” said Savannah High principal, Gequetta Jenkins.|
And there’s no doubt Mr. Mitchell loves his students, which means sometimes utilizing some tough love. “Oh, he gets on my nerves sometimes, but I love Mr. Mitchell,” laughed senior Saniyyah Singleton. “He can be hard and tough sometimes, but I know he’s just pushing us to be better people,” senior Kaliah Orr says. “He’s strict because he knows we can do better. He just wants the best for us,” finished Singleton. Pushing them, like he too, once was pushed. “Savannah High saved me. The band saved me,” said Reginald Mitchell.
While Mr. Mitchell would much prefer his students get the attention, when Dr. Jenkins heard Barry Manilow was coming to town, she didn’t hesitate. “It was an opportunity to spotlight him.” Putting him in the running to win $10,000 for the band program from the Manilow Music Project. “I looked at him and he was all surprised, and I said, ‘why are you surprised? You’re amazing!’” Dr. Jenkins recalled. When he won it wasn’t a surprise to anyone but him. “He said, ‘hey doc I won.’ I said, ‘I know, I knew you were going to win,’ because he’s just that phenomenal and we’re grateful to have him at Savannah High,” said Dr. Jenkins.
When Reginald went to pick up the check he was in for yet another surprise. “When he walked in the room, I’m like, ‘that’s Barry Manilow. Am I really meeting Barry Manilow.’” A man he respects for more than just his musical talent. “You have a lot of musicians, a lot of artists who say, ‘support arts, support arts.’ And I can say he actually put it into work to support the arts.”
While the fanfare, including a shoutout during the concert was unbelievable, what this award really means for Mr. Mitchell is a chance to get more instruments which means a chance make a difference in more kids’ lives. “A lot of kids their parents just don’t have it. So, my thing is if I can help take that kid off the street and put him in this band room and do something positive, graduate, go into the military, workforce or college, then I’m doing my job.” So, sure the attention is nice, but for Mr. Mitchell, even award with his name on it isn’t about him. “This award is just not my award, this is an award for Savannah High School, Blue Jacket Nation.”
For more information about the Manilow Music Project, click here.
|January 18, 2023 ||Fox 35 Orlando||"Central Florida music teacher receives Manilow Music Project award from iconic singer" by Valerie Boey|
|ORLANDO, Fla. - The legendary Barry Manilow was in Orlando on Tuesday night, performing at the Amway Center and giving an award to a local teacher. The music icon sings about a miracle on stage, and off-stage he has created one right here in Central Florida. Lake Howell High music teacher Jose Eslava was the winner of the Manilow Music Project, receiving $5,000 for himself and $5,000 for a school instrument. We caught up with him before the concert during his music class. "We are in need of a tuba. I have six tuba players, but only five functional tubas."|
"All around the country, they’re running out of instruments in music and art classes because of budget cuts," Manilow told FOX 35. "These kids are playing musical instruments that are old and broken down. So when I heard that 15 years ago I thought, I gotta do something."
That’s why this famous singer created The Manilow Music Project, a non-profit organization that provides instruments to students. Now he’s doing something for Central Florida music students. Eslava plans to buy a new tuba for his classroom. "Jose is one of the people that continue to teach music to children," Manilow said, "and it’s so important because music will change a young person’s life."
"Overwhelming, wonderful, a magical experience," was how Eslava described Tuesday's night show. He said musical performances can change a student’s life forever, and that’s why this award is so important. "You get all these students who come from different talent levels, different backgrounds, different lifestyles, and you come together to do this one magical thing."
Manilow said within a month of class, he has seen a student turn into a musician. For more information, visit The Manilow Music Project website.
|January 18, 2023 ||WJCL 22 ABC||"Musician Barry Manilow presents a special surprise to Savannah educator: Music legend presents local band director award and $10K prize" by Olivia Wile|
|Grammy award-winning music legend Barry Manilow brought his winter tour to Savannah, and with it, The Manilow Music Project — an award that goes to an exemplary local music teacher with a generous prize attached to it: $5,000 cash for the winner, and $5,000 "Manilow Bucks,” to be used to purchase musical instruments for their school. Plus, VIP tickets to the show and a backstage meet-and-greet with the music icon himself. Barry Manilow tells us, "All the schools are running out of instruments because they are running out of money. The government doesn’t give them money for music and arts. That’s the first thing to go. And when I heard that, I thought I got to do something."|
When a Savannah High principal heard about the award, she was quick to nominate the fine arts department chair and director of bands at Savannah High, Reggie Mitchell. After receiving the most votes from around the area, Mitchell was shocked to have learned he had won. Reggie Mitchell described it to us, "I was just like, Wow. So, I’m very humbled to receive this award."
Mitchell, a Savannah native, has been sharing his love of music at his alma mater for almost 23 years. Growing the band from 7 students when he started to over 80 who are now in the program. Reggie Mitchell goes on to say, "Help the kids stay off the street and also do something positive in their lives." And he already knows what he’ll use his portion of the generous prize for. Reggie Mitchell explains, "The kids' portion, of course, I have to give them instruments. Now with my portions, I’m going to take a trip out of the country. I need a trip, I need a vacation." And with amazing and encouraging teachers like you, Mr. Mitchell, we’ll be able to ensure the merriment of music beats on.
|January 18, 2023 ||Orlando Sentinel||"In Orlando, Barry Manilow marks 50 years of hits: Review" by Matthew J. Palm|
|He writes the songs that make the whole world sing, and Tuesday night in Orlando’s Amway Center, Barry Manilow showed that’s still the case. “Disney World is down the block but tonight, this is the happiest place on earth,” he greeted the crowd during a stop in his “Hits 2023″ mini-tour of just seven cities. With a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step, Manilow celebrated 50 years of hitmaking — his first record was released in 1973 — during a 90-minute concert that never flagged.|
Nearly 80 — his birthday is in June — Manilow could be expected to come across as some pontificating elder statesman of pop (Barry Manilow is known for "I Write the Songs," "Mandy," "Copacabana" and many other pop classics). But he doesn’t. That’s just not his style. Instead, he appears to be just as he is: Happy to share his music, grateful for his success and in slight disbelief that the youngsters today are making up TikTok dances to his songs. He’s often accused of being schmaltzy — the “sultan of schmaltz” proclaims a Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald headline, while London’s The Guardian goes for “titan of schmaltz” — but is it really schmaltz if it’s sincere?
Manilow’s tale of his grandfather’s encouragement, culminating in a moving performance of “This One’s for You,” touched the heart. And he’s well aware of his rep. “I must have a ballad somewhere,” he cracked at one point. “Weekend in New England” was delivered simply and effectively, emphasizing what makes Manilow’s songs both of their time and yet strangely timeless. He creates a sense of drama in the lyrics and orchestrations so that each song feels like an emotional journey.
Of course, the most obviously dramatic is “Copacabana,” which was given a fun finale with the requisite gaudy costumes. Other up-tempo numbers also offered enjoyment: a swirling mix of “Could It Be Magic” evoked the disco age while “Jump Shout Boogie” offered kicky 1940s flair. He turned “Can’t Smile Without You” and “I Write the Songs” into singalongs. The sound mix improved as the show went on, with the 10-piece band and three backing singers adding to the show’s vitality. Of course, Manilow couldn’t help but show his age occasionally. “Have you noticed the lack of melody on the radio today?” he asked the appreciative audience, though to be fair, he praised today’s “good music” for its use of rhythm.
And he knows his audience; in fact, his rapport with the crowd is part of what makes him such an enduring showman. He still has an ongoing residency at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, owned by Central Floridians David and Jackie Siegel. “Ever hear of TikTok?” he queried Tuesday night before performing the upbeat “Dancing in the Aisles,” a newer song that has inspired youngsters to create their own choreography seen in videos they post on the social-media platform. He featured those videos on his own big screen, which also occasionally flashed album covers from days gone by — including an image of him with the quintessential 1970s feathered hair. “Really? Really?” he exclaimed. “Take that down!” The walk down memory lane culminated neatly in a video of an early performance of “Mandy,” segueing sweetly into his crowd-pleasing live rendition.
Lake Howell High School director of bands José Eslava was recognized as the winner of a contest run by Manilow Music Foundation to promote music education. Eslava won $5,000, and an additional $5,000 was donated to the school for instrument purchases.
Opener Gordie Brown had a tough row to hoe, with an audience eager for the main event. The Las Vegas impressionist-comedian pulled out a lot of voices — he imitates everyone from Katharine Hepburn to Willie Nelson to Louis Armstrong to country singer Josh Turner in rapid succession — but his goofy, scattershot set was a mere distraction until Manilow took the stage.
It has been 30 years since the last time I saw Manilow in concert; I was a college student and took a date to his show. I remember a romantic walk back to campus in the rain, and I remember being impressed with how well Manilow connected with the audience and how well his smartly crafted pop held up. Times change, but some things do not. Manilow’s still got it.
|January 18, 2023 ||The New York Pops||40th Birthday Gala on Monday, May 1|
|Exciting announcement! Our 40th Birthday Gala on Monday, May 1 will honor Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning singer and songwriter Barry Manilow! New York Pops donors of $100 or more receive early access to our 40th Birthday Gala. Make a contribution to be eligible for this exclusive offer: https://bit.ly/SupportTNYP. Tickets go on sale to the general public on February 1, 2023 at 11:00 AM. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (212) 765-7677 for more information.|
|January 17, 2023 ||GPB/PBS||"North Atlanta HS band teacher wins Manilow Music Award" by Logan Ritchie|
|North Atlanta High School music programs director Adam Brooks will be honored with the Manilow Music Project Award by the Grammy-award-winning legend Barry Manilow at the Jan. 19 concert as his wife, kids, friends and colleagues look on. The prize is $5,000 in cash and $5,000 “Manilow bucks” for the NAHS music program. The Manilow Music Project has given away over $10 million worth of funds and music instrument donations.|
Brooks, 42, said he plans to buy a new speaker system for the band room and a keyboard for the jazz band, which performs seven to 10 times a year. “I’m very fortunate to have such a great community to serve. From the kids, parents and administration and colleagues, this amazing place to work,” said Brooks. NAHS is the largest high school in Atlanta Public Schools with 2,400 students.
In his 18th year with APS, Brooks spends his days teaching 120 music students. The program boasts a marching band, three levels of concert band (beginner, intermediate and advanced), two jazz bands, ensembles, percussion and music technology. Fall semester was busy with travel. NAHS band visited Western Carolina University, spending the day with a world renowned band and learning a pre-game show, and a traditional marching band competition in Raleigh, N.C. “We came home with the title of grand champion with first place in every category, so that was a very cool trip,” Brooks said.
Travel continues when NAHS jazz band is hitting the road to attend Essentially Ellington in Nashville, Tenn., spearheaded by Wynton Marsalis, a nine-time Grammy award winning trumpeter, composer and educator. NAHS band members will be playing in the pit orchestra for the spring musical, Legally Blonde. In prior years, the band accompanied the drama department in Footloose, Chicago and West Side Story. “We have a dynamic arts department here, so getting ready for the musical is always a big to-do,” said Brooks.
A horn and percussion player, Brooks grew up in Virginia Beach, Va. Brooks earned a bachelor’s degree from Bethune Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., and a masters degree from Reinhardt College in Atlanta. As a college student, Brooks’ marching band traveled to Atlanta to appear in the movie Drumline. He connected with Atlanta-area band directors who gave him an opportunity at APS. It’s all been a wonderful journey, he said.
Manilow is partnering with concert venues across the country to identify schools and music teachers who deserve a token of gratitude, Manilow said about his tour. The concert is at 7 p.m. on Jan. 19 at State Farm Arena.
|January 17, 2023 ||WSAV-TV||"Barry Manilow presents local Savannah teacher with $10K award" by Hollie Lewis|
|SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – Legendary singer and songwriter Barry Manilow, who is recognized for his hit recordings like Mandy (1974) and Copacabana (1978), made Savannah the hottest spot, more than Havana, this week during his Manilow Hits 2023 concert. During the concert, Manilow recognized Reggie Mitchell, the Savannah High School fine arts department chair and director of bands with the Manilow Music Teacher Award.|
The Manilow Music Teacher Award recognizes an outstanding music teacher who helps to bring music to life for his or her students. Award recipients receive a total of $10,000 with $5,000 of it being a cash prize and the other $5,000 in Manilow Bucks credit that can be used to purchase instruments for their classroom. In addition, Mitchell received 10 complimentary tickets for Manilow’s performance with a backstage meet and greet.
This year, SCCPSS had four teachers nominated for the award: Emily Graham of Islands High School; Chloe Washington of Windsor Forest High School; Lashon Leggett of Herschel V. Jenkins High School; and Mitchell. After all the votes were tallied, Reginald Mitchell was selected for special recognition by legendary singer and songwriter Barry Manilow.
|January 16, 2023 ||Creative Loafing Tampa Bay||"An ageless Barry Manilow plays Tampa's Amalie Arena" by Ray Roa|
|History says Barry Manilow is 79 years old. Don't tell that to ageless iconic American songwriter though. Mr. "Copacabana" was in Tampa last Saturday night for a hit filled show that was preceded by the pop star naming local teacher Christopher Allen as a "The Manilow Music Project" winner. The win brings $5,000, plus another $5,000 in "Manilow bucks" to help Allen purchase instruments for Newsome High School. (PHOTOS)|
|January 16, 2023 ||Click on Orlando||"Seminole County music teacher surprised with Barry Manilow award: Band director José Eslava will receive award at Barry Manilow’s upcoming concert in Orlando" by Carolina Cardona|
|José Eslava was 10 years old when he discovered a passion for the flute. “My family is from Colombia, and they would always play traditional Colombian music and the three instruments that really stuck out to me growing up were flute, trumpet, guitar,” Eslava said. Eslava recalled when he first tried out for the trumpet, he didn’t quite get it to play. “When I did the trials for beginning band, I could not get the sound of the trumpet,” he said. On the other hand, the flute came naturally to him.|
Twenty-six years later, Eslava is the band director for his alma mater, Lake Howell High School in Seminole County. Eslava said, “I just want to make sure that I give back what he gave me, an opportunity to perform and do what I love,” speaking about his high school music teacher and mentor who influenced his career path. “Mr. Todd Leighton. He was always very supportive and anytime I had a goal or a vision, he helped make sure that I succeeded with that goal or vision.”
Eslava’s dedication and leadership is being recognized in the music industry. The 36-year-old was recently named winner of the Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award, a recognition he’ll receive from the music icon himself at Barry Manilow’s upcoming concert in Orlando. “I’ve been envisioning this big surreal adrenaline rush,” he said, “This award is not just about me as a teacher, it’s about the community, it’s about the students. It’s more than just one person, it’s about the whole team.”
Since being named band director in 2014, the high school has brought home numerous awards with ensembles that include marching band, color guard, brass choir, and wind ensemble. “The program has been very successful recently. In marching band, five of the seven shows that I’ve put together have been state finalists,” he said. Most importantly, it’s the personal reward he says he cherishes the most. “Band is so much more than just performing and playing notes on an instrument. It’s life lessons, its dedication, it’s teamwork, leadership, friendships,” he said.
Eslava said he hopes his music students will see the bigger picture and remember him for his encouragement. “I want them to think that I’m the person they can always count on. That I’m the person that pushed them to their limits to make them more successful in the future,” he said. “No matter what career you’re in, I want you to be the best in that field. I want you take all the hard work you learned here and place it in whatever career you wrote go in.”
As for what the future holds, Eslava proudly said, he isn’t going anywhere else. “I want to retire here. I want to make this my forever career, my end goal,” he said. “This is home to me, and I would never trade it for the world.” Eslava will receive a $5,000 cash reward and another 5,000 “Manilow bucks” to purchase musical instruments, which Lake Howell High School said they’re in need of.
|January 15, 2023 ||Patch.com||"The Manilow Music Teacher Award" by Danielle Fallon-O'Leary|
|Fine Arts Department Chair and Director of Bands at Savannah High School Reggie Mitchell received a big award on Sunday. Mitchell was recognized with The Manilow Music Teacher Award – recognition for the hard work and dedication he has to bringing music to his students' lives. Mitchell said, "Like I told my students, this award is nothing without the hard work and dedication of my staff, as well as the kids because the kids are the ones who actually put the work in and make my job easy each and every day."|
|January 15, 2023 ||Savannah Now||"Barry Manilow to award Savannah High band director with $5,000 scholarship for music program" by Laura Nwogu|
|Iconic singer-songwriter Barry Manilow is rocking into Savannah on Sunday, but not before awarding Reggie Mitchell, the fine arts department chair and director of bands at Savannah High School, with The Manilow Music Teacher Award. The Manilow Music Teacher Award recognizes a deserving local music teacher who helps to bring music to life for his or her students. When Mitchell first heard he’d been nominated by Savannah High principal Gequetta Jenkins, he was shocked. “She was saying that with the work that you put in, the time that you put in, you are more than a worthy recipient for this prestigious award,” Mitchell recalled when Jenkins announced his nomination at the school’s winter recital. “She’s been in my corner since day one in helping me build this program.”|
From being inspired to join the band by a Savannah middle school director to studying music education at Savannah State University by the urging of his high school and college director, Mitchell is now going on 23 years of bringing the same joy to his students. “I’m humbled to be nominated as one of the top educators, but even more so, winning this award is humbling. Like I told my students, this award is nothing without the hard work and dedication of my staff, as well as the kids because the kids are the ones who actually put the work in and make my job easy each and every day.” The teacher with the most public votes in each city of Manilow’s tour will receive $10,000 — a $5,000 cash prize and a $5,000 Manilow Bucks credit that can be used to purchase instruments for their classroom.
When Mitchell was first hired as the band director at Savannah High, he started with seven kids. That number has now increased to 91 students in the program, and he said the money is a need that will greatly help further the music education of his students. “Us being an inner city school, we have kids who cannot afford instruments and things of that nature. By having extra instruments on hand, I will be able to put an instrument in a scholar's hand versus turning a scholar away because I don’t have an instrument for them. This will make a big difference.”
As the winner, Mitchell was invited to the upcoming Barry Manilow concert and will be presented with the award in a special backstage meet and greet. “I'm thankful for my principal for the nomination … my support system as far as my mother, my aunts, my uncles and my mentors here in Savannah as well as in Jacksonville, Florida, who have supported me along my journey and pushed me to do the things that I do to become the educator that I am. It takes a village to become successful educators.”
|January 15, 2023 ||Fox 13 Memphis||"Barry Manilow awarding Georgia high school band director $5K for music program" by Bob D'Angelo|
|For a Georgia high school band director, this one’s for you. Grammy Award-winning singer Barry Manilow will award Reggie Mitchell, the fine arts department chair and director of bands at Savannah High School, with The Manilow Music Teacher Award on Sunday, the Savannah Morning News reported. Manilow, 79, who was nominated for 15 Grammy Awards and won in 1978 for “Copacabana (At the Copa),” awards a music teacher at every stop of his arena tour. The veteran singer appears Sunday night in Savannah.|
According to Manilow’s website, The Manilow Music Teacher Award recognizes a deserving local music teacher who helps to bring music to life for his or her students. Mitchell will receive the award from Manilow during a meet-and-greet session at Sunday’s concert at Enmark Arena, the Morning News reported. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude, Manilow said in a statement. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.”
Mitchell, whose nomination was announced by Savannah High School Principal Gequetta Jenkins during the school’s winter recital, said he was shocked to learn he was in contention. “She was saying that with the work that you put in, the time that you put in, you are more than a worthy recipient for this prestigious award,” Mitchell told the Morning News. “I’m humbled to be nominated as one of the top educators, but even more so, winning this award is humbling. Like I told my students, this award is nothing without the hard work and dedication of my staff, as well as the kids because the kids are the ones who actually put the work in and make my job easy each and every day.” Mitchell will receive $10,000 -- a $5,000 cash prize and a $5,000 Manilow Bucks credit that can be used to purchase instruments for his classroom, according to the newspaper.
With 91 students in his music program, Mitchell said the award and cash prize are appreciated. “Us being an inner city school, we have kids who cannot afford instruments and things of that nature,” Mitchell told the Morning News. “By having extra instruments on hand, I will be able to put an instrument in a scholar’s hand versus turning a scholar away because I don’t have an instrument for them. This will make a big difference.”
|January 14, 2023 ||UPI||Barry Manilow Performs at the FLA Live Arena In Sunrise, Florida|
|Barry Manilow performed on stage during a one night only concert " Manilow: Hits 2023" at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, on Friday, January 13, 2023. Barry Manilow presented music teacher award and check to Michael Gabriel of Charles Flanagan High School at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, on Friday, January 13, 2023. Gabriel won the Manilow Music project award in Sunrise.|
|January 11, 2023 ||Creative Loafing Tampa Bay||"Barry Manilow brings the 'Copacabana' back to Tampa this weekend: It's been 50 years since the release of his eponymous debut album" by Josh Bradley|
|Next July, the 79-year-old “Mandy” singer celebrates 50 years since the release of his eponymous debut album, and despite having already conducted a year-long farewell tour, which rolled into Tampa in 2016, Barry Manilow remains relatively active. He released a sequel to his 2014 album of Great American Songbook pieces right before COVID-19 lockdowns commenced, and still holds down hit-drenched residencies in Las Vegas. Tell your mom, because gigantic, full-scale tours are no longer in the cards for Mr. “Copacabana.” Tickets to see Barry Manilow play Amalie Arena in Tampa on Saturday, Jan. 14 are still available and start at $15.75.|
|January 10, 2023 ||The Charlotte Observer||"Barry Manilow talks touring, turning 80, and making first original pop album in years" by Théoden Janes|
|“Retirement” almost seems like a dirty word to the man behind ’70s pop standards like “Copacabana (At the Copa)” and “I Write the Songs” (who also this year will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his self-titled debut album). On one hand, a reminder of the fact that Barry Manilow is celebrating his 80th year on the planet this June will probably make longtime fans of the legendary crooner a.) shake their heads in disbelief, and/or b.) feel pretty old themselves.|
On the other? Well, imagine how he feels about the impending milestone. “I must say, this birthday is really crazy. It’s crazy! I never intended to be this old. But I don’t feel it!” Manilow says, laughing. The singer is on the phone from his home in Palm Springs, California, calling to promote the seven-show run through the Southeast this month that will include a stop at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center on Saturday, Jan. 21.
And, FWIW, those exclamation points — and the one below — aren’t exaggerations on our part; he really is exclaiming. “It’s just crazy,” he says again. “I think of people who are 80 ... they look older than I do. They’re retired. You know, that ain’t me! So I don’t know. Call me next year. I’ll tell you what it feels like.” On tap for this year alone: a new album of his own; his fingerprints on two more albums; this January’s “Manilow: Hits 2023” arena mini-tour; and 57 scheduled performances as part of his ongoing residency at the International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas in Nevada.
Manilow talked about all of this and more — including his on-again, off-again relationship with the accordion as well as what’s missing from pop radio these days — in his recent chat with The Charlotte Observer. (The conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.)
The Charlotte Observer (TCO): You spoke recently with my colleague Evan Moore about The Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award (which, over the years, has given away more than $10 million to school music teachers and programs). Is there a music teacher that stands out to you as someone who — when you were young — helped point you in a direction that you might not have taken otherwise?
Barry Manilow (BM): No. I did that on my own. I come from the slums of Brooklyn, New York. And the last thing anybody cared about in the slums in Brooklyn, New York, was music. My family always knew I was musical, and the only thing they could afford was an accordion and an accordion teacher. And in Brooklyn during those years, every Jewish and Italian kid had to play the accordion. It was like the law. You couldn’t get out of Brooklyn if you didn’t play “Lady of Spain.” There was a guard at the Brooklyn Bridge. So you heard a bevy of accordions all over town. And I was one of those kids that played the accordion, and I liked it. The best part of it is that I learned how to read music. When my stepfather arrived, he threw out the accordion and got me a spinet piano. And I could actually play songs, ’cause I could read music. That was the big turning point. As soon as I hit the keys of that little spinet piano, even though I was 13 years old, I just knew that that was where I was gonna wind up. I didn’t know how that could possibly happen — because where I came from, that was a big dream — but I just knew I was going to wind up doing something in music. I just didn’t care about anything else.
TCO: Do you still have a soft spot for the accordion?
BM: I used to do a comedy sketch with my accordion. I used to play “Like a Virgin.” Today’s songs, on the accordion. It was really funny. But because I was doing that, I had to re-learn how to play the accordion. It’s a very complicated instrument. If you look on YouTube and you type in “accordion players,” you will see — these guys really are wizards at this instrument. It’s a much more complicated instrument than the piano, because of all those buttons on your left hand, and the keyboard on the right hand. And if you know how to play the accordion, you get some really nice sounds from it. So I don’t make fun of it anymore. I used to make fun of it. But if you can play the accordion well, then you’ve got my admiration.
TCO: So, tell me a little bit about this tour. What was the thinking behind stepping away from your Vegas residency for this short run of shows?
BM: Well, my band and my crew, we love each other. And we had the whole month of January off. I said, “Book us some dates, Gare (that being Garry Kief, Manilow’s manager and husband). Nobody wants to take off for a whole month.” So he booked us on this tour. We all love doing these shows. They’re so uplifting. These audiences are still so great to me. They love these songs. I’m one of the lucky guys that can fill up a whole evening of pop songs that people know. I don’t have to go into the album cuts. I don’t have to go to songs that no one’s ever heard of. Every song is something that — either you love it or you hate it, but you know it! It’s a really enjoyable evening for these audiences.
TCO: Is there a different kind of feeling you get from a tour like this, where you’re going into a different arena every night?
BM: Is it a different kind of energy for you? Yeah, it is. It’s even more exciting than the evenings in Vegas. The evenings in Vegas — I’ve started to take it for granted, because they’re so exciting. These audiences, you would really think that they’d be a little jaded, and would much rather go back out into the casino or something. But they’ve been great. But when we do these tours, they are there to see me and hear this music. It’s not like they happened to walk by the billboard where they see me in Vegas. Here, they saved their bucks and put away a Saturday night. So the whole vibe is different. They’re there because they want to be there. Because they’ve been waiting for this show. And I’m very, very lucky and very grateful that they’re still out there for me.
TCO: Tell me about your opening act, Gordie Brown (who is a musician and a singer but also a comedian and impressionist), and the idea of getting the audience warmed up by making it laugh.
BM: Yeah, years ago he opened for us and he killed every night. He killed. I don’t know how that could happen. It’s one thing to have a music act to open for me, but to have a comic and impressionist — and for it to work — they loved him. He’s got billboards all over Vegas these days. He’s headlining all over the place. So, I was so lucky to have him be available for these shows.
TCO: Would you say that the audiences at the shows that you’re doing this month in the Southeast are going to basically kind of get a Vegas-style show?
BM: No. I do my concert show when we go out. It’s still beautiful. Beautiful lights and very, very beautiful effects and all — but no. And even in the Vegas show, I don’t do a big production. With me, it’s really just me, the audience, and a lot of great songs and my great band. I think people walk away feeling really good after these shows. It’s really a very emotional evening. And I’ve never really been into the big production.
TCO: On the age thing one more time: Do you feel at all like at some point you’re gonna have to slow down?
BM: I’m just gettin’ started. I’ve always got “the next one.” There’s always “the next one” with me. I’m starting to produce an album for my friend (saxophonist) Dave Koz. I’ve never done anything like that. Then I’ve got the original cast album for my musical, “Harmony” (which is set to open on Broadway this year). We’ve finished doing that. “Harmony” is about to go up in New York, and when that opens up, that album will come out. I never really think about this age thing. I don’t feel it. Nothing seems to have changed. I look pretty much the same as I always do. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. But so far, so good.
TCO: And the album that you’re doing on your own, is that something that’ll come out this year?
BM: Yeah. It’s gonna either be this summer or for next Christmas. It’s my first original pop album in a long time. Usually I either have a concept — like “15 Minutes,” or “Paradise Café,” or “Singin’ With the Big Bands” — but in the beginning I used to just do pop songs. Albums of just pop songs that had nothing to do with each other. I’ve been working on this one for a couple of years. I wasn’t sure whether it was a good idea to do something like this, because the music that I make is totally different than the music that’s on the radio these days. But I like this stuff that I wrote. I think the audiences that like what I do will love this — depending on how many people are still out there. So we’ll see. It’s a gamble. I’ve never really been good at predicting hit singles. Even when I was having them, I was never very good at it. All I know is to make the best record I can make, and I listen back to it, and I say, “Well, that stinks,” or, “I really loved it.” So that’s where I’m at with this. It’s 12 new pop songs with something in it that we are missing. And that something is a melody! Really, we seem to have lost the melody on the radio. I mean, they’re still making great records. They’re all full of rhythm and loops and stuff. But I miss the melodies. If you go to country stations, you have a chance of getting some nice-sounding melodies, but on pop radio, you gotta search for it. So I’ve put together a pop album with beautiful melodies and great lyrics. Isn’t that something? What an interesting concept!
TCO: Would you say that it’s an evolution of your sound, or would you say it’s kind of a throwback, for people who are fans of the music you made in the ’70s and ’80s?
BM: I played a few of the cuts for a friend of mine, and I said, “Does this sound old-fashioned?” She said, “No! It’s you!” Well, that’s what it is. If you like what I did — what I do — I got 12 new ones for ya.
Barry Manilow in Charlotte. When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Where: Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St. Tickets: $19.50 and up. Details: www.ticketmaster.com; barrymanilow.com.
|January 12, 2023 ||Click Orlando||"Barry Manilow to present music award to Seminole County high school band director: The singer will give Lake Howell High School’s Director of Bands José Eslava a $10K award" by Samantha Dunne|
|In the Seminole County school district, “Manilow bucks” go far. Grammy award-winning performer Barry Manilow is set to award Lake Howell High School’s Director of Bands José Eslava $10,000 at a one-night-only concert on Tuesday, Jan. 17. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude,” Manilow said of the program in a statement. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.”|
Eslava was selected by Central Florida school boards and the Amway Center to receive a $5,000 cash award and another $5,000 in “Manilow bucks,” money presented by the singer so the recipient can purchase instruments for his school’s music program. In addition to the cash award, the band director received VIP tickets to Manilow’s concert at the Amway Center on Tuesday, where he will meet the performer. The Manilow Music Project, which distributes funding to local music teachers and programs across the U.S., has contributed over $10 million in funding and music instrument donations to date.
|January 9, 2023 ||Williamson Source||"Nolenville High Band Director Wins Manilow Music Award" by Michael Carpenter|
|Nolensville High band director Benjamin Easley is the winner of the Manilow Music Teacher Award for the Nashville area. Presented by the Manilow Music Project created by Barry Manilow, the award recognizes an outstanding music teacher who helps bring music to life for their students. As the winner in the Nashville area, Easley will receive a $5,000 cash prize and $5,000 Manilow Bucks credits that may be used to purchase instruments for his classroom. “I am honored to receive this award,” Easley said. “My music educator parents raised me with Manilow’s music, so I am especially grateful for the opportunity to both meet the artist and receive his support for Nolensville Band. As a newer band program, this generous award will facilitate new instrument purchases to positively impact our students’ music education experiences. Thanks to the community of Nolensville and all who voted to support us.”|
Easley was one of 10 finalists in Nashville along with Centennial High’s Johnathan Vest and Franklin High’s Michael Holland. The winner was decided through community voting. In addition to the monetary prizes, Easley will also be invited to an upcoming Barry Manilow concert and be presented the award in a backstage meet-and-greet.
|January 8, 2023 ||Tampa Beacon||Pop superstar Barry Manilow to play Amalie Arena|
|Music legend Barry Manilow is heading out on the road for a special seven-show arena tour. The “Manilow: Hits 2023 Tour” will kick off in South Florida before arriving in the Tampa Bay area for a performance Saturday, Jan. 14, 7 p.m., at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Tickets start at $15.75. Visit www.ticketmaster.com. “I look forward to this upcoming amazing year celebrating my personal milestone with my fans that have been with me throughout these many wonderful years,” said Manilow.|
In 2023, Manilow will mark his 50th anniversary as a recording artist. The tour will highlight the superstar’s greatest hits. Manilow, a Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award winner, and whose success is a benchmark in popular music, will perform an array of his hit songs, including "Mandy," "I Write the Songs," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You," and "Copacabana (At the Copa)." Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Manilow is one of the world's all-time best selling recording artists. He has had 50 Top 40 singles including 12 No. 1s and 27 Top 10 hits. He is ranked as the No. 1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.
|January 5, 2023 ||Broadway World||"Gordie Brown Joins Barry Manilow on Limited Engagement Arena Tour Dates: The tour dates are set to begin this month" by Michael Major|
|Music icon Barry Manilow welcomes Las Vegas headliner Gordie Brown this winter for his special seven show arena tour presented by World of Westgate - MANILOW: HITS 2023 - set to begin this month. The exclusive run kicks off on January 13th at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, FL stopping at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Enmarket Arena in Savannah, Amway Center in Orlando, State Farm Arena in Atlanta and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, before before wrapping in Charlotte at the Spectrum Center on January 21st.|
Gordie Brown always delivers an exhilarating show of music and laughs, making him one of the most sought-after impressionist comedians of our time. He began his career as a political cartoonist before he caught the entertainment bug after winning a local talent contest. Aside from Manilow, he has opened for renowned artists such as Jay Leno, Louie Anderson, Randy Travis, Kenny Rogers, and Celine Dion.
The Barry Manilow concerts will highlight the superstar's greatest hits. Manilow, a Grammy®, TONY®, and EMMY® Award-winning music icon and whose success is a benchmark in popular music, will perform an array of his hit songs, including "Mandy," "I Write the Songs," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You," and "Copacabana (At the Copa)." "I am truly honored to be working with the legendary Barry Manilow" said Brown. "He is one of the greatest performers of all time and I can't wait to share my musical impressions with his incredible fans."
"Gordie is one of the most talented impressionist comedians I have ever seen," said Manilow. "I'm delighted he's going to be joining us for these shows."
MANILOW: HITS 2023 TOUR DATES:
- Jan. 13, 2023 Sunrise, FL FLA Live Arena
- Jan. 14, 2023 Tampa, FL Amalie Arena
- Jan. 15, 2023 Savannah, GA Enmarket Arena
- Jan. 17, 2023 Orlando, FL Amway Center
- Jan. 19, 2023 Atlanta, GA State Farm Arena
- Jan. 20, 2023 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
- Jan. 21, 2023 Charlotte, NC Spectrum Center
ABOUT BARRY MANILOW: Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world's all-time best selling recording artists. The GRAMMY®, TONY®, and EMMY® Award-winning musician has had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits. He is ranked as the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.
ABOUT GORDIE BROWN: Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Gordie Brown began his career as a political cartoonist before he caught the entertainment bug after winning a local talent contest. He was soon opening in Los Angeles for renowned artists such as Jay Leno, Louie Anderson, Randy Travis, Barry Manilow, Kenny Rogers, and even joined Celine Dion on her North American tour "Taking Chances." He had his national television debut on A&E's Evening at the Improv and continued on to co-host NBC's Friday Night Videos, along with appearances on Hollywood Squares, Late Show with David Letterman, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Gordie starred in the lead role as 'Mr. Jones' in the dramatic TV series, "Twice in a Lifetime." He now is a Las Vegas headliner that delivers an exhilarating show of music and laughs, making him one of the most sought-after impressionist comedians of our time.
|January 5, 2023 ||WCNC Charlotte||"CMS band director to be presented with Barry Manilow music teacher award: Suggs was nominated by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Spectrum Center for the award" by Anders J. Hare|
|A Charlotte band director is set to receive a music teacher award from award-winning singer Barry Manilow during a show in Charlotte later this month. On Wednesday, it was announced that Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology's Walter Suggs the Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award. The award is given to one teacher in each city that Manilow performs in, and it consists of $5,000 in cash as well as $5,000 in 'Manilow bucks' to purchase musical instruments for their school’s music program. Suggs was nominated by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Spectrum Center for the award. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude, Manilow. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.” Since its inception, the Manilow Music Project has given away over $10 million worth of funds and music instrument donations. Suggs will meet the Grammy Award winner at the one-night-only set, happening Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Spectrum Center. Find more information about the performance here.|
|January 4, 2023 ||South Florida Theater||"Manilow at Age 79 Stars in FLA Live Arena Concert in Sunrise" by Marvin Glassman|
|At age 79, singer/songwriter Barry Manilow is possibly the oldest performer to headline a concert at FLA Live Arena when he performs “Manilow Hits 2023” in Sunrise on January 13, along with six other venues in the American Southeast through January 21. Promoters normally would hesitate to book a singer at age 79 in a 20,000 seat plus arena, but that is not the case for Manilow, whose concerts have filled major arenas for over 45 years.|
Barry Manilow is currently ranked by Billboard Magazine as the number one adult contemporary artist of all time, spanning a 50 year recording career selling 85 million albums, with 50 top 40 singles, such as “Copacabana”, “Can’t Smile Without You”, “I Write The Songs”, “Even Now” and “Weekend In New England”, all expected to be performed at his Sunrise concert. “I consider myself very lucky and fortunate to have so many fans coming to my shows for so many years,” said Manilow, who first became known for his first hit song “Mandy” recorded in 1974. “My only complaint was the constant touring that I had to do. I love performing for my fans, but I hated catching planes and staying in hotels far from my home (in Palm Springs, California), so I was able to do a permanent residency in Las Vegas”.
Manilow has performed in concerts mostly in Las Vegas since 2000. He has earned the Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards for his numerous concerts and television specials.
Less well-known is Manilow’s contributions as a composer in the musical theater. Teaming with lyricist Bruce Sussman, the duo wrote both “Copacabana The Musical”, which was performed in regional theaters for over 25 years, and “Harmony”, performed off-Broadway in 2002.
Manilow is especially proud about writing “Harmony”, which won the Theatre Fans Choice Award as Best Off- Broadway musical in 2022. Harmony is a musical biography of the German based Comedian Harmonists group, who were popular in Europe in the 1920s and ‘30s. Three of the group members were Jewish, one being a Rabbi. “Writing ‘Harmony’ is the most important achievement I had in my career. The story is about how the group came together and later disbanded in Germany when the Nazis came to power. Although none of the members perished in The Holocaust, the group broke up following World War Two and the enthusiasm they once had for singing together was lost,” said Manilow. “The story is uplifting and means a lot to Bruce (Sussman) and me because we are Jewish. We wrote the songs in ‘Harmony’ after studying much of the music of the era, including Cantorial and Klezmer music.”
A local Ft. Lauderdale music teacher (to be named at the January 13 concert) will receive a $5,000 award, another $5,000 to purchase musical instruments for the teacher’s school district as well as VIP tickets to the concert through Manilow’s Foundation titled Manilow Music Project. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers that deserve this small token of my gratitude. I had my love of music nurtured by taking music classes when I was a teen. Many music school programs today have been either terminated or their funds have been severely depleted. I always wanted to do my part in keeping music alive in school through The Manilow Music Project”.
Manilow was raised by his mother Edna and his grandparents, (Jewish immigrants from Russia), in a small Brooklyn apartment. Although born as Barry Pincus, he changed his surname to Manilow out of love for his mother, who took her maiden name when she divorced his father. Manilow honed his music first on the accordion and then on the piano, which he received as a bar mitzvah gift at age 13. After studying music at Juilliard School, Manilow became adept at arranging and writing commercial jingles that eventually led to him becoming musical director for Bette Midler in 1972 prior to starting his solo career.
Unlike most songwriters, Manilow did not think of himself as a professional singer and was surprised when he was asked to sing and record in 1973. “To this day, I think of myself as a musician first, rather than as a singer. I was happy working with Bette (Midler), but when the opportunity came to record my first album, I became a singer.”
Manilow wrote an autobiography of his early days in the music business “Sweet Life: Adventures On The Way To Paradise” in 1987. Manilow has been married to his longtime manager Garry Kief since 2014.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Barry Manilow will be performing “Manilow Hits 2023” on January 13 at 7 pm at FLA Live Arena, 1 Panther Parkway in Sunrise. Tickets range from $14.75-335. To buy tickets, go to either ticketmaster.com or flalivearena.com or call 954-835-7000. To learn more about Barry Manilow, go to barrymanilow.com.
|January 4, 2023 ||Patch.com||"Barry Manilow To Present $10,000 Award To Newsome Orchestra Teacher: As part of his Manilow Music Project, music icon Barry Manilow will honor music teacher Christopher Allen at his Jan. 14 Tampa concert" by D'Ann Law|
|After winning the popular vote in The Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award, Newsome High School director of orchestras Christopher Allen will be honored by music legend Barry Manilow on Saturday, Jan. 14, when Manilow performs in concert at Amalie Arena. The Grammy Award-winning musician and 2002 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee will meet backstage with Allen to present him with a $5,000 cash award and $5,000 in "Manilow" bucks to purchase musical instruments for Newsome's music program.|
To determine which music teacher would receive the honor, in December the Hillsborough and Pinellas County school boards in conjunction with the Amalie Arena nominated 10 school music teachers and then invited the public to vote for their favorite nominee. "I couldn't believe I'd even been nominated," Allen said. "I know every one of the other teachers and they're all phenomenal." Other teachers in the running for the honor were John Parris of Howard W. Blake High School; Revae Douglas of Sumner High School; Christopher Revett of Robinson High School; Cheri Sleeper of Strawberry Crest High School; Gerard Madrinan of Seminole High School; Katie Aucremann of St. Petersburg High School; Kamyl Alicea-Cordero of Dunedin High School; Rebekah Chambers of Tarpon Springs High School; and Nicholas Stefanic of Hollins High School.
On Wednesday, Manilow announced that the votes had been tallied and Allen, the orchestra director at Newsome High for 14 years, was the winner. "It's been a whirlwind since it was announced," Allen said. "People have been calling me and posting on my Facebook page all day, congratulating me. Anyone of those other teachers could have won. It made me feel so supported just to know people really hold me in regard." A product of the Pinellas County School District, Allen, 48, holds a bachelor of arts degree in French horn performance from the University of South Florida and, in his spare time, has performs with the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in Fort Myers, the Walt Disney World Orchestra, the Sarasota Orchestra and the Florida Orchestra. He also directs the Sarasota Youth Orchestra.
Prior to joining the staff at Newsome, Allen taught in low-income Title 1 elementary schools for six years where he said kids were starving for a chance to learn to play an instrument or see a live musical performance. However, their parents couldn't afford a $5 band T-shirt much less the cost of a ticket to a concert. So Allen said he became adept at applying for grants to purchase musical instruments and fund field trips to satisfy his grade-school students' love of music. "It was challenging but also very rewarding," Allen said.
When he was appointed orchestra director at Newsome High School in Lithia, where he lives with his wife, Melissa, who also teaches music, funding continued to be a challenge. The performing and fine arts are the first programs to be cut when money is tight. "The school district only supplies so much funding. We have a double bass at the school that was purchased when the school opened 20 years ago," Allen said. "And with instruments being shared by hundreds of kids, you can imagine the wear and tear. I only have enough funding to repair one instrument a year."
He said the funding from the Manilow Music Project is desperately needed. "We're constantly trying to find more money for the music programs," he said. "To me, this really goes to show that the people in the Manilow camp understand the need to keep these music programs afloat. I wish more successful musicians would start these kinds of programs."
Manilow said it's been rewarding to help struggling music programs. "It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude," said Manilow. "Many school music programs have either been terminated or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools."
Since his nomination was announced in early December, Allen said he's enjoyed introducing his students to Manilow's music. Every school day he would play a different Manilow hit. Some, he said, they'd heard before like "Copacabana (At the Copa)," "Could It Be Magic" and "I Write the Songs." Others were new to them including "Mandy," Somewhere Down the Road" and "Can't Smile Without You." Allen has plenty of hits from which to choose. Manilow is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters in America. He has sold more than 85 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling artists. He has recorded and released 51 Top 40 singles including 13 No. 1 hits, 28 hits in the Top 10 and 36 in the Top 20.
Additionally, Manilow, now 79, has written and performed songs for musicals, films and commercials, for which he's received a Tony Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. He's also a Grammy Award-winning producer, producing albums for such stars as Bette Midler and Dionne Warwick. "And to think he began his career writing jingles for commercials," Allen said.
In 1971, Manilow was paid $500 for writing State Farm's jingle, "Like a Good Neighbor," according to the singer-songwriter's biography. He went on to write "Stuck on Band-Aid," for which he won a CLIO award in 1976, and McDonald's' "You Deserve a Break Today." He will present Allen with 20 times the amount of money he earned for his first jingle. "This is just great," Allen said. "I love that my program and my love of teaching music is getting recognition. And the money will be put to good use.
For tickets to Manilow's concert, click here.
|January 4, 2023 ||ABC Action News||"Hillsborough County music teacher honored by Barry Manilow" by Erik Waxler|
|HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Chris Allen said some of the double basses at Newsome High School have been around for 20 years. “I can’t even count how many hundreds of students have used this one instrument,” said Allen. But the school will soon be able to buy new instruments thanks to a music legend. In each city where Barry Manilow performs, he picks his Music Project Music Teacher Award winner. It includes $5,000 for Allen and $5000 in Manilow bucks to go toward his school’s music program. When Allen got the nomination, he made sure his students knew just who Barry Manilow is. “As soon as I put the song on the stereo system in the classroom, everybody just sang “Copa, Copacabana.” Even if they don’t know who he is, they know that song and they sing along with it. It was really great," said Allen.|
Through the years, the Manilow Music Project has given away more than ten million dollars to keep music alive in schools. Allen is a professional musician who’s played with the likes of Diana Ross, Peabo Bryson and Olivia Newton-John. He’s also been teaching for twenty years. His award-winning orchestra at Newsome even played at Carnegie Hall. “I always stress to my students it’s not really about the trophies. It’s really about the journey you took to get there. The practicing we’ve had to do. A lot of hours go into it. Really if we have a really amazing performance, it’s all we are looking for. And the trophies and ratings will all take care of themselves," said Allen.
Manilow performs at Amalie Arena on Jan. 14. Allen gets several tickets to the show and will get to meet Manilow backstage.
|January 4, 2023 ||Osprey Observer||"Newsome High School’s Christopher Allen Wins Barry Manilow Music Project Award" by Jennifer Hurst|
|Music icon Barry Manilow announced today Christopher Allen of Newsome High School has won The Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award in Tampa. The Grammy award winner previously announced a one-night-only concert set for Saturday, January 14, at Tampa’s Amalie Arena. The Tampa School Board and Amalie Arena participated in the contest by suggesting schools and teachers in their area that they want to be considered for this award. In each city, the winning teacher will receive 5K cash award and another 5K in “Manilow bucks” presented by Barry Manilow to purchase musical instruments for their school’s music program. The winner will also receive VIP tickets to the concert. Christopher Allen of Newsome High School will meet Manilow at the show on January 14th for the award presentation. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude, said Manilow. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.” The Manilow Music Project has given away over ten million dollars’ worth of funds and music instrument donations.|
Barry Manilow’s unparalleled career is made up of virtually every facet of music, including performing, composing, arranging, and producing. A 2002 Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee, Manilow has triumphed in every medium of entertainment. He has received a Grammy®, Emmy®, and a TONY Award® and has been nominated for an Academy Award®. Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world’s all-time bestselling recording artists. He’s had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles, including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits, and is ranked the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all-time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.
|January 4, 2023 ||3 WBTV On Your Side||CMS band director to be presented with singer Barry Manilow’s music teacher award: Phillip O. Berry’s Walter Suggs earned $5,000 each for both himself, and for the school to buy instruments|
|A local band teacher is set to be presented with an award from music icon Barry Manilow when he performs in Charlotte later this month. On Wednesday, it was announced that Phillip O. Berry’s Walter Suggs will receive ‘The Manilow Music Project’ music teacher award. The award, which is given to one teacher in each city that Manilow performs, consists of a $5,000 cash reward for the winning recipient, as well as an additional $5,000 for the winner’s school to purchase instruments. Suggs will be presented with the award backstage prior to Manilow’s show at the Spectrum Center on Jan. 21. He will also be given VIP tickets to the performance. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude, said Manilow. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through ‘The Manilow Music Project’ to keep music in schools.” Suggs was nominated by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board and the Spectrum Center as a deserving teacher from the area. According to Phillip O. Berry’s music program website, Suggs graduated from NCCU with a degree in music education in 1993, and then earned his master’s from Winthrop University in 2009. Since the award was created, ‘The Manilow Music Project’ has given away more than $10 million worth of funds and musical instrument donations.|