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Andrew Lloyd Webber offers $1.3 million grant for children

NEW YORK (AP) – Andrew Lloyd Webber came to cheer on his kid rock band at the Tony Awards – and also to give out some money to encourage more musical kids.

The legendary composer, whose “School of Rock,” competed for the top musical prize Sunday, announced that he is funding $1.3 million to buy musical theater equipment in US public schools and subsidize study.

“I’m afraid what’s happening in America is mirrored in Britain. It seems to be that nobody quite understands in the treasuries of our various countries that every penny you put into the arts, comes back in some form – in my view, five times over,” he told The Associated Press on the eve of the announcement.

The three-year grant operated byThe American Theatre Wing will include buying instruments and equipment for school theater programs, funding summer study and after-school training, and college scholarships.

Arts education “makes a vital contribution to children’s well-being and their understanding of other disciplines,” Lloyd Webber said. “If you start learning music, you immediately get a grasp for math.”

“If you’re lucky, like I am, to make a living through the one thing that you really love doing, I think it’s extremely important that you try to give it back and bring other people into it.”