Barry Manilow Gives $100,000 to Band at North Carolina High School Still Reeling from Hurricane Florence
Barry Manilow can now count members of the East Duplin High School band as some of his biggest (and perhaps youngest) fans.
Schools across the country applied to The Manilow Music Project this year hoping to secure $100,000 for their music programs. But the video submitted by the North Carolina high school, located in an area still reeling from Hurricane Florence, made the choice easy for the music legend.
The Beaulaville school's video revealed that their band's uniforms are 24 years old, and that they are unable to fund instrument upgrades because many families are still recovering from Florence's devastating floods last fall.
Community involvement, need, and online votes all influence who wins, but Manilow, who founded the project nearly 30 years ago, decided who won. In the end, the 76-year-old Grammy-winner chose East Duplin to take home first place and $100,000 for new instruments and uniforms.
Manilow named the winners in a music video of his own last week, and thanked the band "For your passion, your heart, and your talent."
"I really cannot express my gratitude, with sufficient grace and appreciation, to all of those who have helped with this project," Thomas Seaman, the band director, said in a statement. "From the students who put together our video, the parents who got the word out to local news outlets, the teachers who had their classes voting daily and the greater areas of Duplin and Onslow Counties, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart."
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