By Megan Erbacher
Anyone wishing for free tickets to the Barry Manilow concert on June 26 at the Ford Center can simply donate a new or gently used musical instrument to the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. and receive two tickets in return. Manilow kicked off EVSC's first- ever instrument drive by donating a Yamaha piano.
The two free tickets donors receive are valid for preselected seat locations. The Ford Center ticket office lobby will be the drop off location for the instrument drive, which runs through June 26, and will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
EVSC chief communications officer Marsha Jackson said the Manilow Music Project approached the school district with the idea, and everyone is "very grateful for it." The project is part of The Manilow Fund for Health and Hope, and was formed as a grass-roots organization to assist local charities and programs. The purpose is to provide musical instruments to middle schools and high schools, and to provide music scholarships at universities throughout the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.
"I'm thrilled to be able to help bring the gift of music to these kids," Manilow said in a news release.
During the 2012-13 school year, some 2,600 students in the EVSC in grades 5-12 participated in band or orchestra. Since 2011, the EVSC has invested more than $793,000 in new instruments to expand the instrumental music programs. Jackson said band directors speak with parents about what type of instrument their children wish to play and what may be the best suited instrument for them.
"We order instruments for our programs, but there's always the possibility of something getting damaged or things like that, so it's good to be able to offer something like this," she said. "And we can get maybe even more children involved in music."
Ranked the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time with 50 Top 40 hits and worldwide record sales exceeding 80 million, Manilow has produced, arranged and released more than 40 albums over the course of his career. The Ford Center will host "Manilow In Concert," his Broadway show that, according to officials, has become as legendary as Manilow himself. Audience members can expect to hear him perform songs from a lengthy catalog of hits including "Mandy," "I Write the Songs," "Copacabana (At The Copa)," and more.
EVSC Superintendent David Smith, who was a music educator for 19 years, said in a news release the district is pleased to join Yamaha Corp. and the Manilow Music Project in their commitment to music education in public schools.
"This incredible generosity on behalf of high-quality music programs for schools across the nation is greatly appreciated. - I have seen firsthand the positive impact music has upon students and how music education also translates to positive gains and performance for students in all other academic areas," Smith said.
"Barry Manilow's initiative will have significant impact on future generations of musicians. What a tremendous legacy."
Concert tickets are available online at Manilow.com or Ticketmaster.com, in person at the Ford Center, or by calling 1- 800-745-3000.
For more information on the Manilow Music Project, visit http:// www.manilowmusicproject.org/.
Originally published by Megan Erbacher, email@example.com, 812-464-7501, Evansville Courier & Press.
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