Barry Manilow helps tornado ravaged town
October 29th, 2011
05:52 PM ET

Barry Manilow helps tornado ravaged town

Barry Manilow not only writes the songs, he makes sure kids can too.

The singer-songwriter visited tornado ravaged Joplin, Missouri, Thursday and donated $300,000 in musical instruments to the town's schools through his non-profit Manilow Music Project. “I know firsthand how invaluable music can be to get you through life’s tough times," Manilow said in a statement. "It is an honor and a privilege to help these kids after such a disaster."

Signs like "Barry is our Man-ilow" and "Joplin has hope cause of  Barry" ringed the Eagles football field for the presentation. Students, teachers and townspeople gathered to watch three truckloads of instruments arrive which included pianos, brass and string instruments. The donations will benefit not just the high school band, but also the pep club, the middle school, the choir and the orchestra according to Rick Castor, music director for Joplin High School. 

The town is still feeling the effects of the tornado, which struck in May cutting a 13 mile path of destruction through the southwest Missouri city of 50,000 and killed at least 159 people. The National Weather Service calls it the single most deadly tornado  to hit the U.S. in 60 years. More than half the students at Joplin High School were affected – losing loved ones, homes, and possessions.

Joplin High School's music library, the second oldest and one of the largest in the state and worth over $800,00, was destroyed. In addition to the $300,000 in instruments, Manilow's Music Project teamed up with local business Fitterling Dentistry to accept  donations of gently used instruments and money to help rebuild the sheet music library. The drive netted $8320.oo.

Manilow points to his own school music programs as being crucial to his growth as a musician.  He established the MMP in 2008 ( ) to bolster arts programs nationwide that have suffered due to budget cutbacks.  Joplin is just one of many towns his non-profit has helped, but to the man who writes the songs, this felt personal, "It feels like family, I feel like I know everyone and I've never even been here," Manilow said.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Barry Manilow

    I appreciate Barry Manilow for donation of musical instruments to the Town's schools through his non-profit Manilow Music Project. Town's schools peopel and many other take advantage of these donating instruments.

    December 2, 2011 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. Pixie

    I think Barry could have done more than donate instruments truth be told. and 300k is like a drop in the bucket when you look at the situation. Why not hold about 15 concerts? Get his britches dirty with actually doing something... But.... on the other hand, he could have just looked the other way. He could have donated a few of his own pianos for auction too.... That would have brought more than the 300k, don't ya think?

    November 14, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. carrieanne

    In these days of schools cutting funding for school programs I applaude Mr. Barry Manilow's gift and knowing the value of music programs in schools. @upstateny I totally agree with you.

    October 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sydney

    @starrfire I thought you was dead they said you wheeled your self into The Grand Canyon.

    October 31, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. upstateny

    I HATE, HATE the society we live in. Here's a guy that gave of himself to help others and yet people still have to find something to criticize this man. You don't have to like him or his music but a decent respectful person would have said nothing at or or would have recognized a good deed and compliment him and be thankful that he did something he didn't have to do, but he did and it came from his heart.

    October 31, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Whittier, Fanilow

    Barry is the MAN! Thank you, Barry!

    October 30, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fred

    Yeah, it was nice of him but the tornado happened in May. What took him so long?

    October 30, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sarah

    He has never come out as Gay and who frankly cares but the man cares about people and music saved him I am sure so why not let music help somebody else..I don't think there is any hidden agenda...just a good guy

    October 29, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sarah

    You know what I think Barry comes from the heart,,

    October 29, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fernace

    This is very nice of Barry Manilow, but it's, of course, great publicity for him too! No 1 does anything for "free,"even benevolent acts have a price attatched!!

    October 29, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |

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