ClevelandJewishNews.com, By Alexandra Golden, Posted September 22nd 2023
Before his Cleveland stage performance Aug. 24, Barry Manilow made a high school teacher $10,000 richer.
Amir Jones from Harvey High School in Painesville was the winner of the Manilow Music Teacher Award for the Cleveland show of the “Barry Manilow: Hits 2023!” tour at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland.
Jones is an instrumental music teacher who teaches concert band, jazz ensemble, music technology, wind ensemble and directs the marching band.
Manilow, known for his hit songs such as “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs” and “Copacabana,” has sold over 85 million albums worldwide and is one of the world’s all-time bestselling recording artists.
Before every show of this tour, Manilow presents a teacher with the Manilow Music Teacher Award where the teacher receives $10,000. Of that money, $5,000 is cash and $5,000 is Manilow Bucks, which can be used to purchase instruments, according to the Manilow Music Project website.
“For these last 15 years, we’ve been getting instruments to schools all over the country,” Manilow said to the crowd during the show.
But for this tour, Manilow decided to select a teacher in each city he had a show in and have a contest, he said during the show.
The teachers were nominated and voting took place on The Manilow Music Project website to decide the winner. Voting ended July 21.
“The heroes are the music teachers,” Manilow said. “These men and women, they are so committed to teaching music to these young people.”
Jones got into teaching from the experiences he had in the band program as a student which got him through school, he told Manilow.
“I’m still in a bit of a shock but we have plenty of instruments that we can definitely be getting,” Jones told Cleveland Jewish News Aug. 24. “We provide a lot of instruments to our students, so it’ll be really good to be able to get more in their hands. Especially high-quality ones too with that much money.”
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse participated in the contest by assisting the Manilow Music Project with securing nominations for local teachers for the award.
Other eligible local teachers were Brian Dodd of West Holmes High School in Millersburg; Dustin Harris of Cuyahoga Falls High School; Dan Hamilton of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland; Jason Clemens of Shaker Heights High School; Aeneas Alldredge of John Marshall High School in Cleveland; Dianna Richardson of Cleveland School of the Arts; and Daniel Kenworthy of Bard Early College in Cleveland.
More information on THE MANILOW MUSIC PROJECT.