Even if you’re too young or too hip for hits like “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” “One Voice,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” and the iconic “Copacabana (At the Copa),” you’re familiar with the music of Barry Manilow. Think of timeless commercial tunes like “I Am Stuck on Band-Aid” and “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There,” or “You Deserve a Break Today” for McDonald’s – Manilow started his career performing and writing for New York’s advertising jingle circuit.
Growing up in Brooklyn, Manilow was studying accordion and playing piano by the age of seven, attending New York College of Music and Juilliard. He began working with Bette Midler in 1971, and recorded his debut solo album the following year. Since then, he’s released 40 albums and won Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Awards as a performer, producer, author, and actor.
The singer has also been contributing to numerous communities through his Manilow Fund for Health & Hope, a non-profit charity supporting local, grass-roots organizations focusing on cancer, AIDS, children’s issues, abuse, homelessness, and music education. Part of that Fund is the Manilow Music Project, formed in 2008 by Manilow and some friends. The Project donates instruments, sheet music, and music stands to school music programs, responding to depleted budgets and funding cuts.
Thanks to a local instrument drive kicked off with Manilow’s donation of a Yamaha piano, Phoenix high schools became the latest beneficiaries of his philanthropy. Bring a new or gently used musical instrument as a donation to his Comerica Theatre performance, and you’ll receive two free tickets to the show.
“I think Manilow’s concerned that, with these shrinking education budgets, the first thing to go are the arts…that’s just a shame,” says Phoenix Union High School District Community Relations Manager Craig Pletenik. “And if we can recycle some music, hopefully we can also recycle arts education.”
More than 3,400 students participate in music classes throughout the district. “Many of our students come from lower socio-economic conditions,” Pletenik continues, “and music programs can be very expensive to run. We don’t have students coming to school with their own instruments,” he explains. “They don’t even rent them – they borrow them from our inventory.”
So far, 19 instruments have been donated. According to Rebecca Grace, band director at Carl Hayden High School and the coordinator of the instrument drive, “The average instrument cost is between $300 and $700, and practically none of our students have their own; they can’t afford them.” She elaborates, “The district has a performing arts supply budget, but most of the money has been eaten up over the last eight years by the huge cost of purchasing band uniforms for 10 marching bands.”
Consider indulging in some melody-rich, jazz-inflected pop and simultaneously supporting music in Phoenix schools by bringing an instrument to the concert. “What a neat program,” says Pletenik enthusiastically. “Even if they only collect 20 instruments, that’s 20 kids who now might have an opportunity to play music that they otherwise might not have…and the piano [donation] is tremendously generous.”
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Before there was America’s Got Talent or X-Factor, there was The Valley’s own search for the stars; Alice Cooper’s “Proof is in the Pudding,” where local musicians compete for the opening spot, sharing the stage with Alice Cooper and legendary friends, at Alice Cooper’s Annual “Christmas Pudding” Show at Comerica Theater.
Long before America’s Got Talent or X-Factor, Phoenix’s very own shock-rocker, Alice Cooper, opened the door to local talent for the coveted spot as opener of his Christmas Pudding event at Comerica Theatre.
Here is the chance for solo artists and bands, aged 25 years and younger, to compete against The Valley’s best and brightest local talent, to win the spot onstage with the legendary Alice Cooper, and many of his celebrity friends who come together to make Christmas Pudding the exhilarating and unique rock-n-roll Christmas celebration that’s become a staple of the Phoenix holiday season.
Applicants must apply by October 1, 2012, in order to secure a time slot at the first round of auditions taking place on October 15th and 16th. The application can be found here.
This year’s Proof is in the Pudding competition will be held on October 15th and 16th at The Rock at 32nd St. (13625 N. 32nd St., Phx.) from 6:30-9:00 pm. An elite panel of judges will choose the top 24 in each category.
The selected bands/artists will then compete at the pre-finals held on November 5th, 6th, and 7th at the Hard Rock Café.
The top 3 bands and 3 soloists of each night will advance to the finals on November 19th and 20th at AliceCooperstown.
The winning band and solo artist will perform with Alice Cooper & friends at Christmas Pudding at the Comerica Theatre on Saturday, December 8th, 2012.
Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding celebrates its 12th year on December 8, 2012. This annual fundraising event has worked to raise money for Alice and Sheryl Cooper’s Solid Rock Foundation, which opened the doors to The Rock Teen Center in March 2012, a dream that has finally become a reality. A collaboration of Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Foundation and Genesis Church, The Rock ministers to teens through the music, dance, art, vocational training in sound, lighting, and staging, and fellowship in a safe facility. With so many public schools forced to cut vital programs like music and dance due to lack of school funding, The Rock will cultivate a love of the arts to inspire and challenge teens to choose artistic excellence instead of drugs, guns, or gangs. Who knows what amazing performers, choreographers and producers might come from The Rock!
“We are fulfilling a vision we’ve had for several years…to provide teens with a central place to learn, have fun, and explore their creativity in a supportive and safe environment. The Rock will be one of the first of many teen centers in Arizona and, ultimately, around the country.” – Alice Cooper
Pah-Pah Pah-Pah This is the sound of Death Cab for Cutie coming.
Yes, Downtowners, the famous indie foursome is coming to our fair city.
The last two times the band came through the state they played Mesa Ampitheatre, and now they’re going big.
With their seventh studio album, Codes and Keys, about to come out at the end of May, the band will surprise their fans with a darker sound while also playing the classics.
Since 2008, frontman Ben Gibbard ditched his wire-framed glasses, married indie superstar Zooey Deschanel and found a completely different direction for him and his band’s music.
Every six weeks, the band relocated to different studios all over the West Coast. The band’s traditional folk sound has grown into a dark folk with strings and electronic sound. Don’t fret, they’re lyrics still have the same cute, heartbreakingly honest lyrics.
A few songs have released including “Some Boys” and “Codes and Keys.” After reading these lyrics, it’s no wonder he won over Deschanel’s heart.
“You’re on the floor fearful of what’s outside your door, but the codes and keys they can protect you from the pangs of jealousy,” from “Codes and Keys.”
Although hardcore fans may be questionable to the new sound, it won’t disappoint. You’ll hear many characteristics between “Transatlanticism” (the song not the album) and the new songs.
Presales start on Monday, May 2 and tickets go on sale next Friday.
It’s been three years since they’ve come to Arizona, why would you want to wait another three because you didn’t buy tickets this time?
Death Cab for Cutie plays Comerica Theatre on August 15.
No, her first name isn’t baby, it’s Janet.
Yes, the one and only Miss Jackson is coming to the Comerica Theatre this Friday. Janet Jackson will play a one-of-a-kind show that, let’s just face it, most big-time artists don’t do anymore.
She will be performing songs from her album Number Ones and giving diehard fans the best night of their lives. On her “Up Close and Personal” tour, fans will get snippets of the Janet of the ’80s, ’90s and today, all in one night.
Jackson decided to skip the large arenas with too many nosebleed sections like US Airways Center for the smaller Comerica Theatre in the heart of Downtown Phoenix.
After the most talked-about event in Super Bowl history, Jackson’s last three albums haven’t fared well, so she has since decided to go back to acting.
But shortly after Michael Jackson died, Number Ones was released, with everyone’s favorite Janet songs, from young Janet’s “Nasty” to Nutty Professor’s “Doesn’t Really Matter.”
Jackson had been talking about touring when the idea of doing an small-venue tour came to mind. There will be no crazy lights, special effects or production elements. Just Janet.
In recent interviews, she says that each show will have something the one before it didn’t have to make it more intimate and special for the fans.
So, if you want to relive the years of big hair and even bigger earrings, well, leave that stuff behind and just enjoy a legendary singer.
Tickets are still available at the Comerica box office and online, ranging from $45.50 to $147.
The Comerica Theatre is located at 400 W. Washington St. (light rail at Central/Washington station westbound and 1st Avenue/Jefferson station eastbound)
These past couple months have marked the year for Arcade Fire.
After releasing their third full-length album, Suburbs, which just won Album of the Year at the Grammys, they have become the band to download, listen to and fall in love with.
Following a week of Grammy-fueled momentum, Arcade Fire announced on Saturday that they are going to tour, and yes, they’re coming through Downtown Phoenix. Three days before they headline at Coachella, they’ll be playing at Comerica Theatre on Wednesday, April 13 with indie favorites Local Natives.
Presale tickets sold briskly earlier this week, and tickets officially go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m. No doubt, this show will sell out.
This is the first time in 10 years that Arcade Fire has graced Phoenix with their presence. When they were here in 2001, the Montréal-based band had yet to even release a full-length album in the U.S. They played an abbreviated seven-song set at Modified Arts to a mostly unaware crowd.
If you have not heard of Arcade Fire, go out and buy Suburbs. You will not regret it.
From “Ready to Start,” which has you screaming “Businessmen drink my blood” at the top of your lungs, to the singalong “Rococo,” to their angry punkish single, “Month of May,” this album does no wrong.
Every song keeps your ears awaiting the next.
Lead singer Win Butler and wife Regine Chassagne founded the seven-member band, which includes almost every instrument under the rainbow: guitar, drums, bass, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, keyboard, French horn, accordion, harp, mandolin, glockenspiel and a hurdy-gurdy. (That last one is still a mystery to us, too.)
Arcade Fire’s debut album, Funeral, came out in 2004 with a raw sadness throughout, laced with words of suicide, death and love. The album instantly catapulted the band up the indie ranks.
Their second album, 2007’s Neon Bible, was darker, not lyrically, but musically. It starts off with “Black Mirror,” full of angst and anger, with Butler’s haunting voice echoing the title. It leads you on a dark dream of emotion from there.
With an album coming out every three years, we can only imagine what 2013 will bring from Arcade Fire. It looks like the band will hole up in its Québec church-turned-studio compound later this year to work on album four.
Refresh your browser around 10 a.m. tomorrow for the best tickets before they sell out. Tickets range from $48.20 to $53.50.
The Comerica Theatre is located at 400 W. Washington St. Downtown (light rail station at Central/Washington westbound or 1st Ave/Jefferson eastbound) — 602.379.2888
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