Tampa Bay teacher receives $10,000 check from Barry Manilow - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa Bay teacher receives $10,000 check from Barry Manilow

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Kevin Fuller received a $10,000 check from Barry Manilow at Friday evening's concert. Kevin Fuller received a $10,000 check from Barry Manilow at Friday evening's concert.
Barry Manilow performed in concert Friday evening in Tampa. Barry Manilow performed in concert Friday evening in Tampa.

Barry Manilow is in his 50th year of show business and is used to bringing fans to their feet. His remarkable career includes accolades from the American Music Awards, Emmys, Grammys and Tonys.

As part of his tour, anyone who brought a new or gently used instrument to the St. Pete Times Forum before Friday night's concert, received two free concert tickets. Kevin Fuller and his wife Patty also got in free, but it was because Fuller was named Tampa's "Outstanding Music Teacher" by WFLA-TV and News Channel 8 viewers.

Fuller was chosen from over 200 nominees and received a VIP concert experience which included limousine transportation to and from the concert, dinner at the Columbia restaurant in Ybor City, two front row tickets and a chance to meet Manilow backstage. The stop at the Columbia and the limo ride was the first time the Fullers had experienced either one.

"For me, my life is kids and my life is music," Kevin Fuller said. And I love being able to share my music with my kids. And not only being able to teach them about music, but teach them about life."

"His students, through the opportunity with the contest and everything, have sent him really cool messages on Facebook," Patty Fuller said. "And just letting him know how much they've appreciated him through the years. We're calling it Mr. Fuller's Opus."

But once Fuller arrived at the Forum, his night got even better.

After the meet-and-greet with Manilow and his band, one of whom was a student at another Hillsborough County school and played with Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, Manilow surprised Fuller with a $10,000 check to the Hillsborough County Public School System Music Program, courtesy of The Manilow Music Project, which is part of The Manilow Fund for Health and Hope.

The organization's primary focus is to provide musical instruments to high schools and middle schools and to provide music scholarships at universities throughout the U.S., Canada and the UK.

"To choose one music teacher (is tough), but there are thousands more around the country that I would like to do this for," Manilow said. "I do it as much as I can. It's great for your viewers and your readers voted for Kevin. He must be great for them to do that".

"I'm totally blown away," Fuller said. "It's very, very cool. My kids will benefit from this so much. I was thinking this is a cool prize package, I could buy a couple of more instruments".

Learn more about the Manilow Music Project: http://www.manilowmusicproject.org/

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