Monday, Nov. 1, 2010 | 10:20 p.m.
The afternoon talk show’s cameras last month followed Manilow to Valley High School, where the crooner announced his Manilow Music Project would be donating about $500,000 worth of instruments and other equipment to public schools in the Las Vegas Valley.
Manilow received a standing ovation from “The Talk” hosts Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne, Leah Remini and Sara Gilbert -- as well as his “fanilows” in the audience -- for his contribution to music and art education.
The Strip performer stressed the importance of music education in public schools and noted how it changed his life.
“When I was growing up in Brooklyn, I went to a really dump of a high school, but at least they had an orchestra,” Manilow said. “If I didn’t have that band class, I really wouldn’t be here. I wasn’t very good at sports and I wasn’t going to join a gang, so I joined the orchestra and it really changed my life.”
Las Vegas parents praised Manilow during the video clip of his donation, calling the singer an “angel.”
“What I’ve learned is it is not just play time,” Manilow said of music class. “These kids that stay in music class, their grades go up, their social skills go up. When they stop these music classes, forget it; they are on their own if they want to become a musician.”
Gilbert then posed a sensitive question to Manilow, asking why he does so much work with children, but chose not to have any of his own.
“I thought it would either be the career or the family. I couldn’t do both. I knew I would be a rotten parent if I kept being on the road, making records, not being home … you hear about it all the time. I made that choice,” Manilow said.
Through the years, Manilow has done duets with dozens of artists, including Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand and former Strip performer Better Midler, but still has a wish list of future duets.
“Lady Gaga,” Manilow said when asked for one in particular. “I love her.”
Speaking of “Fame Monsters,” Manilow said he is in the process of recording a new album called “Fifteen Minutes,” which he said will focus on what fame does to young entertainers. Manilow said the album will be out in January or February.
For now, fans will have to settle for Manilow’s show at Paris Las Vegas, where he performers several times a month.