Pop singer Barry Manilow is donating a new Yamaha piano to Westbury High School, launching a local music-instrument drive as part of his longtime Manilow Music Project to benefit music education.
“One of my friends said that his daughter was really interested in learning how to play the sax, but her school didn’t have a sax,” Manilow, 74, says on how the project began, about a decade ago. “He said, ‘Yeah, the high school is running out of musical instruments.’ And I couldn’t believe it, of course, but after that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I looked it up and most of the public high schools around the country, because of budget cuts, are all running out of anything to do with music — music stands, band outfits, sheet music — because the first thing that goes is music and art. So I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something.’ ”
Manilow, who plays the renovated Nassau Coliseum on Thursday, regularly donates a piano at places where he tours “and I ask the audience if they have any instruments that are just collecting dust in the attic or the basement to bring them down to the arena. Then we fix them up if they’re broken and give them to the school districts and they distribute them,” he says.
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