November 2010

SBO Staff • December 2010Headlines • December 2, 2010

Manilow Hits “The Talk,” Donates $500K to Vegas Music Ed Programs

Las Vegas crooner and tireless music education advocate Barry Manilow recently appeared on the CBS show “The Talk” to chat about music education, among other topics.

The episode showed footage of Manilow’s recent visit to Valley High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the singer announced that his Manilow Music Project would be donating about $500,000 worth of instruments and other equipment to public schools in the Las Vegas Valley.

His contribution to music and art education earned Manilow a standing ovation from “The Talk” hosts Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne, Leah Remini and Sara Gilbert, as well as his “fanilows” in the audience.

During the interview portion of the show, Manilow stressed the importance of music education in public schools and noted how it changed his life.

“When I was growing up in Brooklyn, I went to a real dump of a high school, but at least they had an orchestra,” Manilow said. “If I didn’t have that band class, I really wouldn’t be here. I wasn’t very good at sports and I wasn’t going to join a gang, so I joined the orchestra and it really changed my life.”

“What I’ve learned is it is not just play time,” Manilow said of music class. “These kids that stay in music class, their grades go up, their social skills go up. When they stop these music classes, forget it; they are on their own if they want to become a musician.”

Manilow is currently recording a new album, “Fifteen Minutes,” which is due out in early 2011.

Nat King Cole Generation Hope

Casey and Timolin Cole, daughters of Nat King Cole, launched the Nat King Cole Generation Hope two years ago to raise money for music education and put new instruments in the hands of students in Florida’s Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami Dade public schools.

Now through their foundation, the two have thrown a fundraiser for music education that also doubled as a salute to another legendary voice, Johnny Mathis, who received the organization’s first lifetime achievement award on November 20 at the Boca Beach Club at the Boca Resort Club. The jazz ensemble from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale played at the event.

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VH1 Gala Supports Struggling School Music Programs

On November 8, VH1 Save The Music Foundation’s Gala 2010 was held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. The annual event celebrates the power of music and supports the restoration of public school-music programs. Hosted by Glee star and Broadway veteran Cheyenne Jackson, the evening featured tributes to Julie Andrews, The ASCAP Foundation, singer and long-time arts advocate John Legend, and multiple-Grammy Award winner John Mayer. Broadway, television and film star Kristin Chenoweth was among the performers. Singer Jason Mraz announced a $100,000 donation, which will benefit both the ASCAP Foundation and the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. Mraz is partnering with LG Mobile Phones to make the contribution.

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Music Educators Invited to 2011 NAMM Show

The NAMM Foundation is inviting music educators and school administrators from across the United States to come to Anaheim, Calif. to experience NAMM’s fourth annual “Music Education Days,” being held on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 15-16 at the 2011 NAMM Show.

As VIP guests of the NAMM Foundation, music educators and school administrators have access to NAMM’s premier trade-only music products trade show, where attendees can explore musical instruments, products, and teaching concepts.

Music educators will be encouraged to see and try the many instruments and products on display and to participate in the “Best Tools for Schools” recognition program, nominating products that are relevant and useful to today’s music classrooms. Symphony Publishing, developers of the program, will announce these selected products on Sunday in the Idea Center on the trade show floor.

There will also be hands-on educator workshops and panel discussions in the “Learning Lounge” at the Anaheim Hilton and a welcome reception Saturday morning featuring a keynote address by Victor Wooten, composer, arranger, lecturer, producer, vocalist, and a five-time Grammy award multi-instrumentalist.

Special welcome reception on Sunday morning will feature a keynote address from some of the 2009/2010 Abreu Fellows from the New England Conservatory of Music, sharing their experiences as educators working in urban areas throughout the United States. The 2011 “Best Tools for Schools” announcement will be made on Sunday afternoon

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Opera singer Shirley Verrett, 1931-2010

Shirley Verrett, the acclaimed American mezzo-soprano and soprano praised for her blazing intensity during a career that spanned four decades, died November 6 in Ann Arbor, Mich. She was 79.

Verrett, one of the top opera singers of the 1970s and 1980s, was born in New Orleans and gained fame for a blazing intensity in her performances as a mezzo, for much of her career, and a soprano, in her later years. According to her autobiography, “I Never Walked Alone,” which was published in 2003, she battled racial prejudice in a predominantly white European-centered art form during a 40-year biracial marriage.

Verrett made her professional debut in 1957 and a year later appeared for the first time at the New York City Opera as Irina in Weill’s “Lost in the Stars.” She also appeared in the first televised Young People’s Concert by conductor Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic from the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Verrett’s Met career lasted until 1990, and, among many career highlights, she sang soprano roles that included Puccini’s “Tosca” (opposite Luciano Pavarotti), Bellini’s “Norma,” Leonore in Beethoven’s “Fidelio,” and the title role in Verdi’s “Aida,” and Desdemona in Verdi’s “Otello.”

Shirley Verrett joined the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre Dance in 1996 and was its James Earl Jones Distinguished University Professor of Music when she retired in May of 2010.

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