Students at Pleasure Ridge Park High School will have the opportunity to learn, practice and perform on a new Yamaha piano this school year, thanks to the Manilow Music Project and the help of local piano dealer Gist Piano Center. Youngsters at the high school and throughout the Jefferson County Public School District will also benefit from newly donated used music instruments, thanks to the unique initiative launched throughout the nation by pop superstar Barry Manilow.
The new upright piano, a Yamaha P22 model, was recently delivered to PRP High School by Gist Piano Center after being donated by Manilow. Manilow donated the piano to launch a music instrument drive to coincide with his ONE LAST TIME! tour stop earlier this year at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. After delivery, the staff of Gist Piano Center donated their time and expertise to install and tune the piano.
Over the past year, concertgoers who donated a new or gently used instrument to the local school district received two free tickets to Manilow’s ONE LAST TIME! concert. The instrument drive was sponsored by Manilow’s foundation, The Manilow Music Project. Manilow started The Manilow Music Project to provide musical instruments to high school and middle school students throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“I know firsthand how invaluable music education is,” said Manilow, whose unparalleled career encompasses virtually every area of music, including performing, composing, arranging and producing, with worldwide record sales exceeding 80 million. “It is a privilege for me to help bring the gift of music to these kids.”
James Harding, President of Gist Music Center, which has locations in Louisville and Lexington, said he jumped at the chance to play a part in the donation from the Manilow Music Project.
“For the past 44 years, Gist Piano Center has worked closely with Jefferson County public schools and our industry partners to give music a future in Louisville,” Harding said. “This new partnership with the Manilow Music Project and Yamaha will help bring music to the lives of countless JCPS students and their families. We couldn’t be more proud to join with these industry icons and help to promote the magic of making music in Louisville.”
Gist Piano Center’s focus on music education has played an integral role in helping it grow from a small piano repair shop that opened in 1971 into the Midwest’s leading family-owned, full-service piano house. Today, Gist’s “Partners in Education” program, the largest piano network of its kind in the United States, features 115 teachers and more than 5,000 students.
The involvement in the Manilow Music Project is Gist Piano Center’s most recent effort to support music education in Jefferson County Public Schools, but part of a larger, ongoing commitment to the district. The Jefferson County school district has repeatedly chosen Gist Piano Center as their trusted piano source. In addition to selling Pleasure Ridge Park High School a number of pianos and digital pianos over the years, Harding has conducted a series of training sessions and master classes for JCPS educators, and has also sat on the JCPS Community Advisory Board for the JCPS Music Magnate Program, which frequently met at the high school.
“Music education is at the very core of our mission at Gist Piano Center, as it has been over the past four decades,” Harding said. “We strongly believe in the power of music in education, which is why we look for wonderful opportunities like this that allow even more students to learn, explore and benefit from music in their schools, and hopefully throughout their lives.”
More information on the Manilow Music Project can be found at www.manilowmusicproject.org.