By Barbara Wisbey

Barry Manilow, along with The Manilow Fund For Health and Hope, presented “A Gift of Love II” concert at the beautiful McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California Dec. 11-16.  This five-night holiday concert series came about because of a similar event held in December 2009, which raised nearly half million dollars for local Coachella Valley charities.

The concert series raised over $ 1 Million according to Garry Kieff of STILETTO Entertainment, Manilow’s manager.

Manilow, a Coachella Valley resident, created The Manilow Fund for Health & Hope as a nonprofit organization to support local, grassroots organizations that promote education, health and care.  The fund donates to organizations that focus on Cancer, AIDS, Children’s Issues, Victims of Abuse, The Homeless and

Music Education.

“We were thrilled to be able to bring ‘A Gift of Love’ back to the Valley,” Manilow said.  “Being able to give back to my hometown, both in song and charitable support, makes this concert series a very personal and special event for me. The 27 recipient charities are invaluable to the Palm Springs community, so extending the holiday spirit of giving to these non-profit organizations is really a special treat.”

Mitchell Gershenfeld, president & CEO of the McCallum Theatre, said,  “Barry Manilow is a great friend to the Coachella Valley and a great friend of the McCallum Theatre.  He currently serves as co-chair of our Friends Campaign, and has appeared on our stage on many occasions, from the 9/11 benefit “Let Freedom Ring” to his surprise appearance during the national tour of his musical “Copacabana.”

Manilow’s unparalleled career encompasses virtually every arena of music, including performing, composing, arranging and producing. A Songwriter’s Hall of Fame inductee, The entertainer has triumphed in every medium of entertainment, reaching worldwide record sales exceeding 80 million, ranking him in the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time with 49 top 40 hits.

The singer has produced, arranged, and released over 40 albums over the course of his career. This pop icon has written hundreds of songs and performed around the globe, winning a GRAMMY, two Emmys, a Tony Award and an Oscar nomination along the way.

“The Gift of Love II” concert series benefited and honored 27 local charities each night. Manilow performed his hit songs in addition to special songs from his catalog of holiday favorites, including tunes from his October 2012 release, “The Classic Christmas Album.”

“A Gift of Love II” was presented by Garry Kief of STILETTO Entertainment along with Arny Granat of JAM Productions. Sponsors for this special concert included  Jim Houston, Barbara and Frank Sinatra, The Berger Foundation Frances C. & H.N., Helene Galen, Harold Matzner, Madeline Redstone, Michael Klein, Tucker Cheadle, McMahon RV, James Hummer, Brooke Koehler, David Narz, Kennedy Street Enterprises, Susan DuBow, Kay Hazen, Marshall Gelfand, Dale and Carole Haes-Landon, Esther and Walter Schoenfeld, Jan and Mike Salta and STILETTO Entertainment.

In 2008 Manilow launched “Manilow Music Project” and donated $500,000 worth of musical instruments to 21 schools in the Palm Springs area. Later on he did the same thing in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. To date he has donated over a million dollars across the United States. To view more on Manilow Music Project please go to www.manilowmusicproject.org to see how it has all evolved.

After 30 years of being on the road and touring, the singer settled in at The Las Vegas Hilton for a five year run. Then he moved over to The Paris Las Vegas for the next couple of years. He actually flew back to Palm Springs every night because he likes to sleep in his own bed.

The 27 local charities who will benefit from the five-night concert series include  The Desert Symphony, Animal Samaritans, Desert Cancer Foundation, Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation, Desert Samaritans for Seniors, Desert Arc, Barbara Sinatra

Children’s Center, Gilda’s Club Desert Cities, College of the Desert, Shelter from the Storm, Desert AIDS Project, United Cerebral Palsy Inland Empire, Temple Isaiah Fund, The Living Desert, Mizell Senior Center, Manilow Music Project, Desert Best Friend’s Closet, Big Brothers-Big Sisters of the Desert, LGBT Community Center of the Desert, Tools for Tomorrow, Advancing the Interests of Animals, FIND Food Bank, Guide Dogs of the Desert, Olive Crest, Paws and Hearts, Stroke Recovery Center, and the Pegasus Riding Academy for the Handicapped.

In 1983, the Manilow Fund for Health & Hope established scholarships in Manilow’s name at the following schools:  University of Southern California, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, George Washington University, University of Nevada, Northwestern University, Eastern Michigan University, and University of Toronto.

On January 18, 2013 Manilow will return to Broadway for the first time in two decades for an indefinite run of “Live on Broadway” at the St. James Theatre.

It is anticipated that there will be an announcement of a West Coast Venue in 2013 that is sure to be a big draw and attraction to his many fans.