Legendary singer-songwriter Barry Manilow’s non-profit organization, the Manilow Music Project donated more than $300,000 in musical instruments in addition to sponsoring an instrument drive to get even more instruments into the hands of Joplin High School students.
The event took place Thursday morning at Junge Stadium, with some of the Joplin R-8 band students, administration, Joplin officials and Manilow himself in a private ceremony.
“Music can provide some of the most uplifting moments of our lives,” said Joplin Mayor Mike Woolston. “One thing that which every student should be exposed to is music. With today’s generous donation of musical instruments from the Manilow Music Project, our public school students will once again be able to pursue musical interest and once again be on the path to a lifetime of musical appreciation and enjoyment.”
The Manilow Music Project partnered with local community business Fitterling Dentistry, who hosted the drive location in Joplin. Fitterling Dentistry lost their business due to the May 22 tornado.
New and gently used instruments were dropped off at the Manilow Music Project donation truck at Fitterling Dentistry, located at 4402 East 32nd St., Joplin.
“We are so proud to have him helping us out with his foundation. They actually contacted me shortly after the tornado, about three or four weeks later and said that they wanted to do something to help us and we have been in contact with them ever since,” Joplin Schools Band Director Rick Castor said. “This is going to be helping our high school, all three of our middle schools, orchestra, choir, everything, all of the music department, we are so excited.”
Manilow, whose music spans decades, traveled from California to be in Joplin on Thursday.
“I am so happy to be here, I wish that I could do this every day of the year, and bringing more music,” Manilow said in his opening comments. “That is why I am here.”