Legendary singer Barry Manilow awarding 5 NYC music teachers $15,000

Legendary singer/songwriter Barry Manilow is awarding five music teachers from each borough of New York City $15,000 during his concert series at Radio City Music Hall. 

"Oh my gosh, it's unbelievable to meet an icon like that," said teacher Melissa Morris of James Madison High who was the first-named winner out of Brooklyn.

Before Manilow became a music icon, he was a Brooklyn boy, attending a school that ranked as one of the most dangerous. But music class became his safe place -- and his destiny-- leading him to create the Manilow Music Project, which provides music scholarships and donates to underfunded schools. 

"I was a misfit and then I turned into a musician and everything changed," Manilow said. 

From May 31 to June 4, Manilow is headlining Radio City Music Hall and each night he's awarding one teacher from every borough $5,000 for themselves, and $10,000 toward music instruments.

"Manilow is illuminating teachers," Morris said. "And we're in a time when teachers are criticized at every turn. Because we're in a shortage area, they're lowering the quality of teachers that are in front of your kids. And Mr. Manilow is saying we're not going to do that."

"It's more than just music," Manilow said. "These classes turn into their second family, sometimes it's their first family. They learn how to interact with each other. Some of their grades go up. They become musicians. that's what happened to me."

To date, the Manilow music project has given away more than $10 million in funds and music instrument donations. 

The Manilow Music Project winners are:

  • BROOKLYN, 31 MAY: Melissa Morris, James Madison High School
  • STATEN ISLAND, 1 JUNE: Robert Rams, Staten Island Technical High School
  • THE BRONX, 2 JUNE: Michael Santoro, Fordham High School for the Arts
  • QUEENS, 3 JUNE: Sara Shikowitz, Stephen A. Halsey 157
  • MANHATTAN, 4 JUNE: Laurel Stinson, High School of the Liberal Arts Manhattan