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School gets new band instruments, thanks to Barry Manilow

BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- Nicollet Middle School in Burnsville is the recipient of $35,000 in new instruments from Barry Manilow’s Music Project.

Beverly Price put out a call to the organization, which donates instruments to schools, after learning her friend and 20-year Nicollet music teacher Ann Bakken was worried about providing instruments students might need.

In her email, Price wrote: “I’m a police officer at Nicollet Middle School, and I have a teacher who is so compassionate, and so willing to do anything to make sure that the music program continues.”

The Manilow Music Project, in collaboration with Yamaha, donated two flutes, four trumpets, six clarinets and three French horns, fulfilling Bakken’s wish list.

Price surprised Bakken with the gift at the school’s eighth-grade band concert early in December, where a teary-eyed Bakken — caught on video — told parents, “I feel like I’m on a game show.”

“I am so grateful and overjoyed, and I am so excited for the students to play on these instruments,” Bakken wrote in a news release.

Nicollet Middle School is at least the second metro recipient of instruments from the Manilow Music Project. Youth Advantage, a Stillwater nonprofit that helps low-income families pay for sports and fine arts activities, received 26 instruments in 2012.

Manilow last performed at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center in April as part of his “One Last Time!” tour.