The Middle School at Parkside music program will have a brand new piano before the end of the school year, thanks to the generosity of The Manilow Music Project. Barry Manilow’s charity traditionally donates a new piano to the local school district in each of the singer’s tour locations.
Manchester School District administrators were contacted by The Manilow Music Project with the offer in advance of the concert at the Verizon Wireless Arena in March. But in a city the size of Manchester, which of the 22 schools would receive it?
“We decided that an essay contest would be the best way to give all of our schools an equal chance to claim the piano,” said Superintendent Debra Livingston.
Parkside’s music students sent several essays to the school district office. Many writers described personal experiences with music and how it has impacted their lives, others authored stories about music in a children’s book format, and some simply wrote letters explaining why Parkside deserved a new piano.
One clever entry featured the titles of several Manilow songs, which include the lines, “Maybe Somewhere Down the Road our school will get the money we need to buy new instruments. . .Even Now I can imagine how great winning this would be.”
The needs of the schools which submitted entries also were considered.
“Parkside’s band, orchestra and choir share two older model digital keyboards, and the upright piano is in such disrepair, it can’t even be tuned anymore,” said Livingston.
Wilson Elementary School submitted a video of its music teacher and students, set to the music of “Hall of Fame,” by The Script. As first runner up in the piano giveaway contest, Wilson will receive a portion of funds collected from Manchester teachers and staff. The Manilow Music Project provided tickets to Manilow’s March 15 show, and interested concert-goers donated $5 per ticket to the district. The money raised – more than $1,000 – was set aside to benefit music education in Manchester.
“The district will give Wilson’s music teacher the funds she needs to purchase a new portable keyboard,” said Livingston.
The Middle School at Parkside will receive the Yamaha NU1 acoustic/digital hybrid upright, valued at $6,500, in about six weeks.