KNOWLESVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) — Ahead of Barry Manilow’s performance at Bridgestone Arena this weekend, he’s taking the time to recognize his local music teacher.
Benjamin Easley, band director at Norrensville High School, won the Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award. With that, he receives $5,000 in cash and another $5,000 in “Manilou Bucks” to support the school’s band.
Easley said the money will be used to buy new instruments for the students.
“I think it’s really great that his career isn’t one of selfish motives or an inward focus. Especially because of the way he chose to support music in public schools, it’s really a gift to a generation.” It will make an impact,” said Easley.
Easley said he was very grateful for the support from both Manilow and the Nolensville community.
While on tour, Manilow awards music teachers in various cities around the country. Easley won the Nashville area. He has been at the school since it opened in 2016 and has been able to build the band from scratch, going from just 23 members to around 160 in the last seven years.
He said he grew up listening to Manilow with his parents.
“I grew up with parents who were music educators. My father was a band director and my mother was a concert pianist. It’s crazy that something on VHS was so big five years ago,” says Manilow.
Now, he and some of his family are excited to see Manilow backstage at his show on Friday night.
The Manilow Music Project has provided over $10 million in value to school music programs nationwide.
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