WCS Educators Nominated for Manilow Music Award

Benjamin Easley and Johnathan Vest and Michael Holland
  • Published December 13, 2022

    Three WCS educators are in the running for the Manilow Music Teacher Award, which comes from the Manilow Music Project created by singer-songwriter Barry Manilow.

    The award recognizes one outstanding music teacher in each city who helps bring music to life for their students. Centennial High's Johnathan Vest, Franklin High's Michael Holland and Nolensville High's Benjamin Easley are among the top 10 finalists in Nashville. 

    "I am honored to be nominated for the Manilow Music Teacher Award among such esteemed colleagues," said Vest. "I remember listening to my parents' Manilow records when I was a kid, and it's really special to be recognized by his foundation."

    The top finalist will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a $5,000 Manilow Bucks credit to purchase instruments for the classroom.

    "l am honored to be nominated for this award," said Easley. "I grew up with music educator parents who were total 'Fanilows.' Since our small beginnings as a new band program, we have experienced 450 percent growth. Our student musicians have represented WCS and the NHS community with performances at Nissan Stadium, Good Morning America Dove Awards, ABC World News Tonight and more. We are grateful to be considered for this unique opportunity for financial support and recognition."

    They will also get the opportunity to attend the Manilow Hits 2023 show at Bridgestone Arena on January 20.

    "It's exciting to be included in such a fantastic slate of music teachers," said Holland. "I grew up listening to Barry Manilow's music with my parents. The Manilow Music Project has impacted music programs across the nation, and it is humbling to have an opportunity to join them and purchase much-needed instruments for the Franklin Band using 'Manilow Bucks.'"