There just aren’t enough Barry Manilow news days, in our opinion. The just-turned 76-year-old easy-listening songwriting legend is still performing in Vegas, and also runs the Manilow Music Project, which is “keeping dreams alive one instrument at a time” by donating to school music programs, and has given over $10 million in total to date over more than three decades. The website says that Manilow created the project in honor of his own high school orchestra in Brooklyn and is primarily focused on supplying instruments, which can run over $1,000 per violin and more than $7,000 per tuba.
Barry Manilow just announced this year’s winners from his stage in Vegas, with four runners-up and a special award for best video. According to KATU, Manilow said he was bombarded by video entries before deciding to give the grand-prize award to the marching band of East Duplin High School in North Carolina, in “an area still recovering from Hurricane Florence.” The fortunate winners will receive $100,000 in instruments and band uniforms.
In the video, Manilow says that he heard from kids who told him that “band classes helped them to make friends they couldn’t make in other classes… I know exactly what you’re talking about.” The winning East Duplin Marching Band video shows how the band members all stayed in touch even while school was shut down after the hurricane, calling themselves a family several times over, and when the band director chokes up, it’s hard for the viewer not to as well.
Manilow thanks the winners “for your passion, your heart, and your talent.” If Barry Manilow is thanking you for those things, kids, you are definitely doing something right. Manilow then closes his video with some strains of “Copacabana,” because of course he knows what his true show-stopper is.