Can't Smile Without You 2000 (Part 1)

January 1, 2000 - Foxwoods Casino (Ledyard, Connecticut)

photo provided by Elaine Lemieux

January 1, 2000 - Foxwoods Casino (Mashantucket/Ledyard, Connecticut)
> Elaine Lemieux (New Bedford, Massachusetts):  I can't believe he FINALLY picked me!  And on New Year's night no less!  All I know is that I couldn't believe it, and I still can't. I've been dreaming about and hoping for this since he first started doing the CSWY 'duets'. I was so excited, that my mouth went dry as soon as I hit the stage, and I could hardly sing (not that I am much of a singer anyway, but that's not the point of doing this, is it??). But Barry was so wonderful, coaching me through it all, and full of compliments (which almost made me forget what I was doing!). What a way to start off the year!!  Thanks Barry, I'll NEVER forget it! (1/3/2000)

From Elaine's husband:  My mother usually has her annual shin-dig on New Year's Day, but when my wife heard Barry was playing at Foxwoods she was disappointed that she wouldn't be able to go to the show. So I surprised her with tickets the day they went on sale and had the New Year's Day Party changed to New Year's Eve. I am one of eleven brothers and sisters all with husbands, wives, children etc., so changing the party was no small feat.

Our next project was planning a sign that would get her noticed and picked. One night while eating out we scratched on a napkin a rough idea of what her sign would say. A very simple sign that read..."ME", with an arrow pointing on either side of the word.

Now that we had the idea, next was picking out size and materials. She decided to use three big rigid poster boards. We commissioned the help of Elaine's artist cousin to bring the idea to life. The signs were huge. It took me, Elaine, and Elaine's girlfriend, Sheila, each to hold a section of the sign.

The night of the show Elaine gave me permission to get as loud as I could so we could get Barry's attention. Over the years I have developed a 'whistle' using my fingers that is so loud and high-pitched that it could probably shatter crystal!!

There were lots of people who brought signs. The competition was stiff but we were confident that we had a winning idea and a winning sign. After Barry did a few songs he started to whistle, and we knew the time was drawing near. We started to whistle and holler. Elaine even brought a police whistle that was louder than my natural whistle!  Barry started to scan and make comments on all the signs, then he started looking our way and at that point we knew.

He picked Elaine.

I've known my wife for about ten years, we've been married for about seven, we have a cocker that she loves dearly, I cut the cord when Julie was born, but I have never been happier for my wife than the day she got to sing with Barry Manilow. (1/3/2000)

January 2, 2000 - Foxwoods Casino (Ledyard, Connecticut)
> Sharyn Godbout (of Massachusetts):  For all the unfortunate things that happen in our lives, once in a while something Fantastic comes along. On January 2, 2000, one of those Fantastic things in my life happened. I joined the very Lucky and Elite group of "Can't Smile Without You" girls, singing with Barry Manilow (...if you can call it "singing" on my part!!).

Many do not want to go on stage for fear that they may faint, vomit, or (like me) make a fool of themselves, as evident in my video. I don't think it is about any of that, I just think to "make it" it's a dream come true!

For over 20 years and 101 shows, I have wanted to be a CSWY girl, but sometimes I did not have the courage to "raise my hand" or even hope!  During the last few years, I have made (or I should say "Saint Ernest" my husband made) many, many signs. Sometimes I couldn't even hold up my sign, as the time just didn't feel right.

On 1/1/2000, I brought a sign, "100 shows still trying!" (original, hey!). Saint Ernest worked very hard making the sign. He carried it onto the bus the Mavens took to Foxwoods, during dinner, and into the theater. Of course, it was beautifully wrapped in a large green trash bag. When the CSWY time came, I could not hold up my sign. The time didn't feel right. I was terrified!

So, we (he) carried that precious garbage bag (with sign) home. After only about four hours of sleep, off we went to Foxwoods again to another concert on January 2. This time we put the sign in the trunk of our car. Arriving at Foxwoods, we decided to remove it from its "classy" garbage bag. After all that, we could reuse the bag. Yikes! After the night before, we saw that the sign was torn. The letters were coming off, simply a mess... Oh well, I probably wouldn't hold it up anyway. Again, we carried the sign through the casinos, to dinner, and into the show. I still didn't know if I could find the courage to look brave.

Suddenly it was "that time", the whistle started, the signal for the CSWY girl to be chosen. I KNEW this was RIGHT. There was no doubt in my mind. I WOULD make it. It was MY turn! Don't ask me how I knew, maybe someone up there was saying, "Go ahead, take a chance!"  Oh my God, that "someone" was right as you all know. I am no angel, but I suddenly grew wings and literally flew to that stage and to that waiting hand, which helped me up the stairs.

What a Blast!!  I am really glad it took me 20+ years, 101 shows, lots of $$$, and sometimes many hours of travel with no sleep. All that made my CSWY experience all the more incredible and appreciated. As you could see from the video, I could not stop laughing (or screaming). At least I didn't start crying. What a "view" for the audience that would have been!

Seriously - and you know I am hardly ever that - unless you have gone through the Can't Smile duet, you cannot explain it. All I can say is "Thank You" to Saint Ernest, and anyone who has ever encouraged me to "keep trying"- my mom, daughters, the Manilow Mavens. Thanks to that "voice" that said it was my turn on 1/2/2000, and especially to Barry for, without his even knowing it, giving me some of the Best times and music of my life.

My Millennium wish to all of you is for whatever makes You happy, Go For It!  And Smile, Smile, Smile...!!  I am... What a Rush! (2/7/2000)

January 8, 2000 - National Exhibition Centre Arena (Birmingham, England)
> Rebecca Barthorpe (Nottingham, England): The start of another tour. The start of... Could it be me this time? Surely my turn must come sometime. After all, I've been waiting 17 years. Oh well! If not tonight, there's always tomorrow's concert, or the next, ...or the next...

My sister and I had already bought some more tickets for tonight's show, as our original ones were on the side, but we wanted the 'arena' area, to be within a fighting chance of getting picked.

Poised with poster at feet, then a few songs in, that tell-tale whistle starts. We both (my sister & I) jump up and down (Every man for himself at this point!!). Barry says, "I'm looking for a real live wire tonight!" I jump and scream as though my life depended on it. He points and says, "Over there, with a banner saying 'PLEASE!'" I don't know who screamed first, Victoria (my sister) or me. Poster in the air, running towards the stage, it suddenly hits me. My chance has arrived! All common sense and thoughts go out of the window.

Barry takes me on stage and asks me if I've seen the show before. When I reply, I'm amazed my voice and mouth are actually working. We start the song. Halfway through, he pulls me towards the piano. I start jumping up and down at the thought of being between Barry's legs!! All too soon, it's over... the hugs, kisses and 'the piano bit'. I float back to my seat, where Victoria has cried all the way through - she is almost as excited as I am!

What a fantastic experience and what a start to the tour!!

I haven't stopped talking about it since. Friends and family have started wearing glazed expressions on their faces. But I don't care. My sister (Victoria - January 16, 2000) and I each know how the other feels, and anybody else who has been picked will know how we feel too. (10/23/2000, 1/22/2001)

January 9, 2000 - National Exhibition Centre Arena (Birmingham, England)
> Clare Pollitt (Barnet, England):  It was my 55th concert, but my banner still read "Please, my 50th concert!" from the last tour. I hadn't got round to updating it, and had been joking to my friends over the weekend that if I got picked, I'd have to explain [the sign] to Barry, not imagining for one minute that I would be doing exactly that!

I had a couple of premonitions that I was going to be picked that night, one very clearly just before CSWY started. I know that others have also had premonitions, and have just known when it was to be their turn. Spooky!

As soon as the first chords started, my friend Teresa helped me hold my banner and I jumped up and down like a mad thing pointing to it. Barry barely moved from the centre of the stage and saw me almost immediately; it helped that I was in a good central seat at the front of a block (thank you Elaine for booking the seats!). When I realised he was pointing to me and mentioning my banner I nearly died with shock, but took no time getting to the stage, telling myself to try to remember everything and not become completely helpless!  I was shaking like a leaf with sheer excitement; the adrenalin rush was amazing.

Barry took my hand, led me to the piano where we had a lovely cuddle while he asked where I was from and what I did, and commented on my banner. I found myself explaining it just as I had told my friends earlier!  He then moved in closer (completely off-putting!) and asked about my plans for the Millennium. I nearly lost it at this point!

It was an amazing thrill being on that stage; I was vaguely aware of the vast audience, but I was concentrating only on Barry!  I thoroughly enjoyed the singing routine with him, even though I sang progressively flatter, especially during the between-his-legs bit (Never mind the singing - feel the knee!). I'm please that I remained sufficiently with it at the end to thank him profusely for the experience and for all the years (18 in total) of enjoyment he and his music have given me. We had another hug, and then I gave it my best shot with the most adoring farewell kiss I could muster.

Barry oozes that "it" factor superstar quality from the stage, but close up he is the sweetest guy and so natural (and even more gorgeous). When I finally got back to my seat, I completely lost it and bawled my eyes out, hugging my friends. The rest of the concert was superb, although I was still shaking through most of it, and some of my other friends in a row nearby kept turning around to look at me. Presumably they were checking [to see if] I was still conscious!

What an incredible, unbelievable experience!  I shall never forget being a "CSWY girl". To say it was a life-changing experience is no understatement. It is a precious moment to keep forever and remember, especially whenever one needs a boost in life. I haven't stopped thinking about it. Remembering the occasion still gives me butterflies. I was so lucky that night. I'd always thought it would never happen to me, but kept hoping, so never give up your dreams!  The night was even more special because most of my dear friends were there (all met because of Barry). I thank you, Barry, for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. You are a very special person with a wonderful talent. Please don't ever stop what you're doing and giving us such happiness! (5/14/2000)

January 14, 2000 - Wembley Arena (London, England)
> Margaret Sutton (Halifax, West Yorkshire):  I still cant believe I did it!  I had it in my mind to ditch my chewing gum but when Barry read out my sign, there was just one thing on my mind and that was getting down there!!

My friends likened me to a gazelle, I don't remember going, just arriving and seeing a hand outstretched and there he was. For a tone-deaf non-singer, I just went for it and enjoyed myself (who wouldn't?). I just wish it could have lasted longer (greedy, I know). I had a fab time!  Barry makes it so easy and I hope all my friends get the same opportunity. Thanks Barry! (1/24/2000)

January 15, 2000 - Wembley Arena (London, England)
> Joyce Adshead (Liverpool, England):  I cannot believe that at last I am a "Can't Smile" girl. How many of us have wished for that over the years?  I have tried for 14 years, and tonight was my turn. My sign said "I Really Want To" and I certainly did!  I was so nervous being led to the stage by Steve, but once Barry took my hand at the top of the stairs, my nerves just disappeared.

I loved every wonderful minute of it - staring at each other while we sang, holding hands as we did our 'walk' and being with him at the piano while he sat with his arms tight around me.

Thanks to all my friends who made it all so special at the end of the show with all their congratulations, and thank you Angela for being there with me. I can't think of anyone else I would want to share this wonderful memory with. And finally, thank you Barry for making my dream come true, and making me a "Can't Smile" girl. (2/13/2000)

January 16, 2000 - Wembley Arena (London, England)
> Victoria Lambley: We're a week into the tour. When will it be my turn?? I've lived a week of my sister's CSWY experience (Rebecca - January 8, 2000). I'm so thrilled she was picked, but now it's become "MISSION VICTORIA"!

I decide to change my poster. I pick the same colours as Rebecca (After all, it worked before!!). Once again, we've spent all week trying to get tickets for the 'arena' area, rather than the side. Six o'clock tonight, we achieve this. Rebecca now decides to flash lights on my poster to help me out.

Once again, that tell-tale whistle starts. Virtually a copy of the week before, I jump and scream as though my life depended on it. Barry points and says, "Way over there, the one that says 'ME'" Rebecca screams, I scream and run to the front. Oh no!! Somebody else has a banner with 'ME' on also. Barry takes us both on stage!

We start the song and as we walk back to the piano, Barry says, "What do I do now?" I find myself pointing at the piano shouting, "Get on here, get on here!" Again, all too soon it's over. Barry hugs me and kisses me, and like anybody else who has ever been picked, I float back to my seat, where my sister hugs me and we just stand there jumping up and down, screaming.

What an amazing night and what an amazing coincidence that two sisters have been picked on the same tour.

I too haven't stopped talking about it since. Friends and family have started wearing glazed expressions on their faces. But I don't care. My sister and I each know how the other feels, and anybody else who has been picked will know how we feel too. (10/23/2000, 1/22/2001)

January 18, 2000 - Telewest Arena (Newcastle, England)
> Karen Crulley (Newcastle upon Tyne, England):  All night before the concert my husband kept saying to me, "You had better wash your hair because it is going to be you tonight." I had put a red colourant on my hair the weekend before and I was terrified to wash it out in case it went a funny pinky colour. We got to the arena and we were sitting in the first row of the second block, I said that this was a prime spot to be picked.

Well, the whistling started three songs in and I was picked! I had no banners or signs but I was waving frantically, even though I am quite small, but my husband made up for it as he is tall and was shouting and screaming and pointing for Barry to pick me. I have been a fan for over 20 years and went through High School getting a bad time because I was that Barry Manilow fan. I was the one taking the Copa bag to school!!

About 10 seconds before I was picked, I knew it was going to be me. I ran and ran and ran. I screamed when I reached the stage and threw my arms around Barry. I did not want to let him go and I would not. He had to bounce me across the stage holding him. We hugged and hugged, and he asked the questions about being married and "was I really a fan for 20 years?" as I looked so young (How I love this guy)! We held hands and sang. This is what I have practiced since I was 10 years old and I loved it. How different your voice sounds up there though!! I screamed again when he jumped up onto the piano and he started to feel my hair (Oh no, I thought, I should have washed it!).

He jumped down and held my hands to the stairs and then he kissed me, and Wow! I went down the aisle and stood in the middle for the song to end, then he blew a kiss. I blew one back, and he said I was great and he was in love. I cried throughout "Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed" and eventually recovered. The night seemed to be only for me after that. He kept smiling over and waving (so I thought anyway!). This was the most thrilling, exciting and emotional moment of my life. The guy just oozes sex appeal, charisma and charm. Thank you Barry. (11/17/2001)

February 16, 2000 - Tennessee Performing Arts Center (Nashville, Tennessee)
> Michele Reynolds (White Hall, Arkansas):  What can I say but... Nashville is "My Kind of Town!" I never dreamed that I would see my dream come true in Nashville. The whole experience was great. First, I got to meet all my wonderful BarryNet friends the day Manilow Country was taped (February 15). We had a blast! Then the next day we had a Barry video party and also made a video of US singing CSWY to Barry!  Little did I know that that would be my rehearsal for the concert!!

By the grace of God, I made it back to the hotel after getting lost and not thinking I could find it again!  I told my friend that she was just going to have to drop me off at the concert and drive the car around the block or park somewhere and find me. Time was running out, and I was a nervous wreck!  I almost didn't make a sign because I was so flustered after getting lost. However, at the last moment, I scribbled out my sign. I'm sure glad I did. This was the first time I had ever taken a sign!

I will always be thankful for Orchestra Section Row B, seat 303, because it was the "best seat in the house" that night at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center!  I don't know what drew Barry's attention to me, but I'm thankful for whatever it was!  When he started whistling CSWY, my heart started pounding. For a brief moment, I felt I might get picked, but then my overwhelming pessimism took over.


When he started reading my sign, I just started jumping up and down (before he could read the whole thing!). I was so excited. When I got up on stage, I was starting to hyperventilate. I kept telling myself to get it together, but my emotions just went wild. I had waited for this moment since that little girl who was 12 years old standing up in her seat trying desperately to get one of those "I Sang with Barry Manilow" t-shirts!!

I tried so hard not to cry, but was not successful!  I vowed to myself that if I ever got up on stage with Barry that I would thank him for his beautiful music that will keep my precious cousin's memory forever present in my life. Afterall, she is the one who took me to my first concert and bought me my first Barry music - Barry Manilow I 8-track!  Well when I did, I felt like I was going to fall to pieces, but luckily, I made it through!

It was so amazing to have the support of my BarryNet friends behind me. They were going crazy in the audience. During my time on stage, I was only cognizant of their presence and of Barry's. I never felt like I was in front of a huge crowd of people. Otherwise, I would have probably passed out!  The entire experience was so surreal for me. I was overcome with joy. Barry was so GREAT. He made me feel so comfortable because I certainly couldn't make a living as a singer!!  What a thrill it was for me to get to look into his eyes, to hug him (oh, did I ever do a lot of that), and to KISS him more than ONCE!!

That night which started out as a Valentine's present would end up being one of the greatest birthday presents that I would ever receive - being on DirecTV with Barry!  Thank you, Barry, for not cutting me out!  Wow, I never dreamed it would all turn out like it did!  I'm forever grateful!

Thank you Barry for making my dream come true!  Thank you for 25 years of beautiful music. I'm so glad that I was there from the start - Mandy is "where we first met!" (2/19/2000, 6/7/2000)

March 16, 2000 - TECO Arena (Ft. Myers, Florida)
> Susan Petr (Naples, Florida):  Thank you, Barry!  My dream since childhood finally came true. Unbelieveable!  As always, I prayed that this would be my year to get picked as the CSWY girl. I knew I had a good chance because my seat was 4th row center so I took one of my old posters of Barry and made a large sign with yellow letters against a black background that said "25 YEAR FAN" - this was true, as the following week was my 33rd birthday and I had listened to him since I was little.

I have ALL the albums and ALL the CDs and have been in the fan club forever. I definitely knew the words...

The song started and of course I started screaming with everyone else, then he walked to my side of the stage, looked my way and as soon as I heard him read my sign I thought OH MY!!  Of course I took off running, I didn't even need help up the steps. I ran up to him, hugged and kissed him before he could even get a word out.

He showed the crowd the sign and made a comment that how could I be a 25-year fan since he was only 30! (ha ha). Next he asked me what I did (I'm a librarian) and where I lived (Naples). It took all I had to give one word responses. I was so nervous I thought I was going to pass out!

Then the duet started - I forgot about the 4,000 people watching and just looked at Barry. He was so sweet and complimentary (I was way off key, couldn't hear myself in the mike, so I tried to sing softly and let HIM hit the last note first so I could try to match pitch). My voice definitely changed after he jumped up on the piano and cuddled me - WHOA!!  The end was another hug and big kiss, to the cheers of the crowd. One of the newspapers did an article and said I danced like a pro, I'm glad she didn't mention my singing!  What an adrenaline rush, I was up the whole night after that.

Truly a dream come true. To look into those blue eyes, hold Barry's hand and have him sing INTO MY EAR was incredible. Even nicer was the response after the concert. Other Barry fans promised to send me pictures of our duet and total strangers were coming up and asking me questions and congratulating me (even in the bathroom!). Then I met a local TV reporter who interviewed me the next day and put me on the six o'clock news - I really enjoyed my 15 minutes of fame and of course have watched the tape a million times.

Dreams do come true. Thanks again, Barry! (3/21/2000)

March 17, 2000 - MARS Music Amphitheatre (West Palm Beach, Florida)
> Amy Cooney (Orlando, Florida):  It was THE Greatest night of my life!!  My sister (a huge fan as well) made me promise that if I got on stage I would bring my cell phone and ask Barry to say "Hi" to her!  I can't even believe that I remembered, but I did!  Barry was GREAT - he took my phone and talked to my sister and kept it on while we sang, so she heard the whole thing!  When I watch my video I seem So calm, but I was really So excited and nervous!

Two embarrassing things happened, well, really one dumb and one embarrassing:  When Barry was walking me off the stage he puckered up to give me a kiss and all I could do was kiss him on the cheek. What's wrong with me? I've waited my entire life for that moment and I CHOKED!! (Barry, if you're reading this, Please give me another chance!!)  Here's the embarrassing part - When I was getting back to my seat I heard him talking to the audience saying, "Did you notice, Amy never missed a beat chewing her gum?  She was just chewing, and singing and dancing!"  I never even thought about my gum (until I watched the video)!

It was the Greatest experience EVER!!  By the way, He looks even Better up close!! (3/19/2000)

March 18, 2000 - Ice Palace (Tampa, Florida)
> Cindy McCoy (Sarasota, Florida):  What can I say?  Barry, you're the best!  What an evening that was for me. Both of my children were there with me that night - Michael (10) and Jessica (8) - as well as some close friends. It was Michael's first concert and Jessica's second. Music fills our house and the three of us have had many pleasurable hours singing and dancing to Barry's music. So it was only fitting that they were there with me to experience this.

I have dreamed of meeting the man that has introduced me to so much Beautiful Music since I was seven years old. Twenty-six years and fourteen concerts later, my dream came true.

Once I was sure that I was the one he picked, I made my way into his arms the fastest I could get there. He referred to me as a "jumping bean". I always knew that someday it would be my turn when the time was right. When he asked me what I did, I told him that I was a music major at college and that I majored in voice. Well that's what I told him, but I play the piano and compose music also. He told me that I was a pretty musician and then turned around to the orchestra and said "you guys are so fired".

I wanted to sing my best with him, but I was having a hard time breathing and after screaming so much prior to getting picked, my voice was really raw. He kept telling me that I was doing good. I kept my eyes on him as much as I could. I wanted to hold onto the moment and remember it forever.

I've seen the CSWY moment several times, but nothing prepared me for actually being up there. I guess my mind was so much on the kiss that I totally forgot about the piano part, until it happened!  So I squealed a little bit when he jumped on the piano and pulled me close to him. And before I left, I got my kiss that I was waiting for!

After the song, he said "good luck" and that I did a great job. He mentioned it a few more times throughout the rest of the concert. Thank you to the wonderful people in the crowd. You were so nice to me. Thank You, Barry, for being so supportive of my music!  You are a wonderful inspiration! (3/25/2000)

March 24, 2000 - Kentucky Center for the Arts (Louisville, Kentucky)
> Cyndi Crowder (Campbellsville, Kentucky):  It was a dream come true!  Especially for a music teacher. My kids had been researching him as our musician of the month and helped me make the sign. "Our Music Teacher Can't Smile Without You!" were the words on the poster. Most of the kids had even signed it. It felt as if it were just the two of us with the orchestra singing our hearts out. Words cannot describe. I must admit I was nervous at first, but Barry makes you feel like he has known you for your entire life. His encouragement for music in children's lives during the rest of the concert made the evening more special. I am so happy to have had the experience. (3/28/2000)

March 25, 2000 - The Centre (Evansville, Indiana)
> Ruth Meyer:  I really did get to sing with Barry. It was so neat and Barry is so nice. Barry had a wonderful concert and I was the "Smile Girl" for the night. To me everything went just great. He said he chose me before I had a heart attack and that I was jumping around like a jumping bean. The thing that I truly enjoyed most about singing with Barry is that he is so very, very kind. Barry made me feel like a friend. I never felt silly. He was sincere in helping me sing. I always wanted to sing and this was like a wish come true!

I've always liked Barry but after my experience on stage with him I am so impressed. It would be so nice if everyone who wanted to, got the chance that I did. It's so wonderful to know that someone who is as talented and handsome has such a loving personality. I didn't even realize Barry even saw me or my poster. I really got worried when my friend kept trying to take my poster for herself. I knew if I didn't have my poster I might not get a chance to sing with him. I just want to say Thanks so much, Barry, you're so special. I am so happy for the chance to be with you and hopefully one day I'll get to meet you again!!  P.S. The orchestra was magnificent as was the whole evening and I hope Barry comes back to Evansville soon! (3/28/2000)

March 26, 2000 - Embassy Theatre (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
> Jan Gidley (Fort Wayne, Indiana):  Being selected as a "CSWY girl" was an experience I will never forget. I will always feel my being selected was a true blue miracle since this was only my third Manilow concert and my seat was in the twenty-first row of the theater. I had learned from my previous concert experiences that girls who were picked were either sitting close to the stage or had a sign that would attract Barry's attention. As my seat was not located in front I decided to go the sign route. I selected some bright pink poster paper, and in blue paint I stated:  "I TEACH MUSIC!  BARRY PICK ME!"

When the house lights came up I hoisted my paper as high as I could. I was very noticeable as there was no one around me with a sign. When Barry looked my way I just knew I would be picked. He said, "What does that pink sign way back there say?  Something about the music, Barry?  You in the red. Come on down!"

I think I flew over the four people between me and the aisle and floated to the stage. After he asked me my name, Barry wondered what my sign said. When I said I teach music he said, "I love you, Jan."  Talk about being left speechless!  I told him I taught elementary school music and he told the audience, "We need more people like Jan."  As he led me through the song I felt as though I was singing with an old friend (although my nerves did not allow me to sing to the best of my ability!)

All too soon the moment was over but my memory and the video tape will keep it preserved for a long time. Barry referred to me several more times during the concert as he stressed how important it is for children to become involved with music. With role models like him and his fabulous orchestra I couldn't agree more. I am still on an emotional high like I've never before experienced. I hope it never ends!  Thanks for the music, Barry! (3/30/2000)

April 1, 2000 - Birmingham Johnson Civic Center Concert Hall (Birmingham, Alabama)
> Christy Sanders (Chattanooga, Tennessee):  This was my 3rd concert of Barry's. My home office is in Birmingham, about three hours from Chattanooga, and the owner of the company I work for knows how much I love Barry. I have Barry's picture on my desk at work along with my husband's, and my boss surprised me with two tickets, 7th row.

The concert was on April Fool's Day so my sign said, "Your April Fool" with red glitter hearts all around, an idea from a friend and co-worker of mine, and it worked. It was a dream come true. I can't remember a time that I have not been a Barry Manilow fan and it was wonderful. The only embarrassing thing I wish I had done differently was that I was in a skirt and I got to the stage and hiked up the skirt and climbed up on stage as Barry said to me "always the lady" (instead of going around and getting up a better way). My friends and co-workers know what a huge fan I am and were all very happy for me. Thank you, Barry, for making me feel so special! (4/2/2000)

April 2, 2000 - Bi-Lo Center (Greenville, South Carolina)
> Betsy Meccia (Duncan, South Carolina):  WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE the joy I was feeling as I sang on stage with BARRY MANILOW!!  I have been a fan for more than 25 years, and I never, ever thought my dream would actually come true, but it did!  I saw Barry in Cincinnati, Ohio (September '99), and decided then that I would be on stage with him at the next concert I attended!

I was the second person in line at the ETM machine when the tickets went on sale and was aiming at getting as close to Barry as I possibly could. Unfortunately, the nice lady ahead of me had trouble getting the ETM to process her card, and time was ticking away. Finally it was my turn to purchase tickets, and I thought I had third row seats!  Because of the arrangement of the seating, I was devasted upon arriving at the Center to realize that my seats were actually about 18 rows back!

Earlier in the week, one of my sixth grade students and I had made a couple of posters that I hoped I could sneak into the Center. I wanted Barry to know more than anything that I DID know the words and could sing almost anything with him, so one of my posters said "I KNOW THE WORDS!  PLEASE LET ME SING WITH YOU!"

Barry did see my poster, and I did get to sing with him!  Even though I was not nervous at all, the excitement overcame me and I did mess up on the words somewhat!  I was just thinking all the while that this really wasn't happening!  It just had to be a fabulous dream!  But it wasn't a dream, and I have the video to prove it!

THANK YOU, Barry, from the bottom of my heart!  You'll never really know the happiness I felt!  I'd love for you to meet my family. My 16-year old daughter can REALLY play the sax and the piano, is Drum Major of her 272-member high school marching band (State Champions and Bands of America Regional Champions), is second academically in her class, and is planning on being a music major in college. We really appreciate the way you promote music education in your concerts!  I love you Barry! (4/3/2000)

April 7, 2000 - Auditorium Center (Rochester, New York)
> Mary Ellen Snee (Syracuse, New York):  I still can't believe it happened!  I'm a "Can't Smile Girl" at last!  After 18 years of trying, I finally got picked!  When Barry pointed at my sign and started reading it, I was frozen at my seat...  I don't know HOW I managed to get from there to the stage. It didn't even matter that I sang off-key. He made me feel so special, and in about five extraordinary minutes, my very ordinary life was changed forever. I have taken up residency on Cloud Nine. I've moved in, unpacked my bags, and I expect to be staying here for a very long time. Thanks, Barry, from the bottom of my happy, happy heart. You have made my dream come true... and I can't STOP smiling now! (4/15/2000)

April 14, 2000 - The Mark Arena (Moline, Illinois)
> Cindy Merritt (Robins, Iowa):  It was the experience of a lifetime. It still seems like a dream and I don't want to wake up. I still can't believe that I finally got the opportunity to meet and sing with the MAN. What a great act. I guess I really can't find the words to describe how great it really was, and how many times I've viewed the video and shown off the pictures. My husband even had a poster made from one of the pictures.

Looking into Barry's eyes was a dream come true. I know that I am now a member of an elite group and will always cherish the memories. Keep up the great work, Barry. Your fans LOVE YOU and the experiences you provide. (4/23/2000)

April 22, 2000 - New Jersey Performing Arts Center (Newark, New Jersey)
> Chris Gallagher (Fishkill, New York): There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about that wonderful CSWY experience in April of 2000. I will continue to cherish the memory of that night, to have been able to tell Barry that I love him, that I love his music, and that he made my dream come true. (4/30/2000, 12/25/2000)

April 23, 2000 - New Jersey Performing Arts Center (Newark, New Jersey)
> Andrea (of Long Valley, New Jersey):  I am on a "FOREVER" Barry Manilow hangover!  It was an experience from which I will never recover. He is as wonderful as I expected, and then some. As I said on stage, I have been a fan since 1975. Barry's music has truly touched my soul and will always be a part of my life. But you don't have to be a CSWY girl to love Barry and his "beautiful music", it just seems to make it a little more personal!

For me, it is a dream come true. Thank you to the other people in the audience who helped me hold up my sign on that magical night, and to all the fans who have contacted me with pictures. Now I can honestly say, "I sang with Barry Manilow"!! ... Through Barry's music, I have learned that "DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE". - Barry's CSWY "EASTER 2000" Girl (5/1/2000)

April 29, 2000 - (Madison, Wisconsin)
> Linda Brown (Belleville, Wisconsin):  Before heading off to the concert, I purchased a small bouquet of flowers from our town grocery store. I had never been to any of his concerts, this was a first, and I was going to give him flowers if I could...

One of my first albums was Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits. It was a two-album record that I acquired through a friend of my sister's when I was 10 or 11, that was 18 years ago. I was always cranking his album as high as my little green record player would go, but I just loved the music. So I was very excited when I heard he was coming to my town.

...With flowers in hand we walked into the coliseum and found our seats; 24th row center. During one of his talks between songs I looked to my friend and told her I was going to go up and try to give him the flowers I had brought. So I started walking up the aisle and one of the stage guys turned me away. I was so disappointed. I sat down in my seat and felt like crying. All I wanted to do was to show Barry how much I admire his talent.

Then he started singing "Can't Smile Without You" and fans in the rows ahead of us starting holding up these signs. Well, having never been to any of his concerts before I was curious. Then he mentioned what they were for. Well of course I started jumping up and down, hoping he would see me. During all my jumping I didn't realize that the flowers were still on the floor by my chair. If it wasn't for my friend, Meredith, and her sister, Melanie, I would have probably never been picked. I grabbed the bouquet of flowers and started waving them in the air.

They turned the house lights on and he's over on the other side of stage. I was sure he was going to pick someone from that section. Then he started my way. I was waving those flowers like there was no tomorrow!  Then I hear the words, "The girl holding the flowers; the one in the brown shirt and white pants."  That's ME!  I felt like telling the stage guy who turned me around earlier that night, "look who has the flowers now!"

With my hands shaking and up to my mouth, I felt like I was walking down the catwalk after winning a beauty contest. My heart was beating a mile a minute and All The Time I couldn't believe I was inches from the man I grew up adoring. He was so beautiful. He took my hand and walked me to the center of the stage. After viewing the videotape I can see exactly how nervous I was. I don't think I looked up but 2-3 times; just kept staring at the floor and glimpsing up every few seconds to see if he was really there. I was so nervous that it was very difficult to even get my name out. I even messed up the place I work for. You'd think I never spoke a word of English in my life.

When he jumped on the piano and held me between his arms (and legs) and I felt all my energy in my legs leave me; I thought for sure I was going to faint. It was magic. Afterwards, when the singing was done and he escorted me back to the stairs and asked for a kiss, that was the highlight of the whole night.

Walking back to my chair I felt like a school girl that just got her first kiss. I was jumping up and down and other audience members were giving me high-fives. I was on cloud nine for the rest of the evening, and even into the next day. Barry... if you ever read this, you have made me the happiest person on the face of this earth and I will never forget it!  You're the greatest!! - Linda from Madison (with the beautiful eyes). (4/30/2000)

This Page Created February 4, 2000 (Last Updated May 20, 2007)

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