Sunday, 15 April, 2007 11:12 AM
CMA's "Keep The Music Playing"
Program Funds Music Education in Nashville Public Schools
BY JOHN RUSSELL / CMA
half the net proceeds from CMA Music Festival, CMA donates $368,502
for music education for students of Nashville public schools. (l-r)
Dr. Pedro Garcia, Director, Metro Nashville Public Schools; Steve
Buchanan, Senior VP, Media and Entertainment Gaylord Entertainment;
Tony Conway, President/Co-Owner, Buddy Lee Attractions and CMA Music
Festival Executive Producer; Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry; Kay
Simmons, Executive Director of the Nashville Alliance for Public
Education; Tammy Genovese, CMA COO; Bob Wilson, Principal of Nashville
School of the Arts (NSA); Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell; Carol Crittenden,
Metro Nashville Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator; CMA Board
President Clarence Spalding, President, Spalding Entertainment.
2007 CMA Close Up News Service
CMA donated $368,502
from the 2006 CMA Music Festival to Nashville's nearly 75,000 public
school students. CMA's "Keep the Music Playing" program
funds music education in Metro Nashville in partnership with the
Nashville Alliance for Public Education (NAPE).
"When we launched
this charity initiative last year, we made a promise to donate $300,000
to music education on behalf of all the artists who participate
in the Festival for free," said CMA COO Tammy Genovese. "But
record attendance at the 2006 CMA Music Festival made it possible
for us to increase the amount to $368,502. And the Alliance and
Metro Nashville Public school system are already putting those funds
to excellent use for the students."
CMA announced the donation
at a March 7 news conference at the Nashville School of the Arts
(NSA). The event featured Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell; CMA Board
member and multi-Platinum artist Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry;
and Director, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Dr. Pedro Garcia.
Students from A.Z. Kelley Elementary School and Isaiah T. Creswell
Middle Arts Magnet School performed during the event.
"'Keep the Music
Playing' is proof that all of us here in Nashville, in the music
industry and in our schools understand that the future of Music
City depends on nurturing young musicians now," said Mayor
Purcell. "We are grateful to CMA for this generous contribution
and for their commitment to a re-energized partnership between the
music industry and the City at large."
"We are very thankful
for the support of CMA and the 'Keep the Music Playing' program,"
said Dr. Garcia. "We know students who study and play music
do better academically. These funds will allow us to start the music
playing for some students and keep it playing for others. We're
confident the music created today will make significant differences
tomorrow for our children."
"Today I'm representing
the artists in the Country Music industry who believe in giving
back to the schools in our community," Gentry said. "Many
of us live here. Our businesses are here. We are invested in this
community in so many ways, and giving back is a very important part
of who we are. I was fortunate growing up to have music education
including band and chorus, and I was able to achieve a dream I never
thought was possible. It is exciting to see these students get just
as excited about music as I was when I was in school."
Gentry presented a new
2007 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 truck that was requested by NSA to
transport musical instruments and gear to the students' numerous
performances throughout the year.
The truck is only the
beginning of the story. Hundreds of musical instruments for students
in grade, middle and high schools have been ordered, including bassoons,
cellos, clarinets, cymbals, drums, flutes, glockenspiels, keyboards,
saxophones, trombones, trumpets, tubas, violas, violins, xylophones
and more. These instruments will be distributed to A.Z. Kelley Elementary,
Bailey Middle, Croft Middle Design Center, Isaiah T. Creswell Middle
Magnet, Haynes Middle, May Werthan Shayne Elementary, Stratford
Comprehensive High, William Henry Oliver Middle and Wright Middle
The donation also includes
money to create and stock piano labs at East Literature Magnet,
McGavock High, MNPS Middle College High and Stratford Comprehensive
In addition to the Chevy Silverado 2500 truck, NSA will also receive
stage curtains and baffling; 10 Mac G5s and Final Cut Pro for movie
and video editing; 10 Mac G5s and Pro Tools for the recording studio;
and additional recording microphones and gear.
"The Nashville Alliance
set a goal to provide musical instruments for all Nashville Public
Schools so that every student could take full advantage of the benefits
of music education," said Kay Simmons, Executive Director of
the Nashville Alliance. "'Keep the Music Playing' is turning
those aspirations into reality. We are so very grateful to CMA and
the individual artists for this partnership. We know that it will
have an immediate impact by putting hundreds of instruments into
the hands of students, but the real measure of its impact will be
felt for years to come."
The Nashville Alliance
for Public Education was established in 2002 by a group of corporate
and civic leaders with the goal of improving public education for
students in Nashville schools. Working in tandem with the Metro
Nashville Public Schools Board and the Director of Schools, the
nonprofit group identifies areas of need and channels private community
resources toward those programs and schools, which serve Metro Nashville's
nearly 75,000 public school students.
Music education is a
funding priority for NAPE. Ten million dollars is needed to replace
and replenish instruments throughout 134 Metro Nashville Public
Schools. Two million dollars has already been raised, but the need
exists for an additional $8 million.
Research supports that
those students who participate in a quality music education make
higher scores in math and reading. It prepares students for success
in society. Research states secondary students who participated
in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current abuse
of substances. The study of music also enhances self-discipline
and diligence, which carries over into skills for life, according
to Carol Crittenden, Metro Nashville Visual and Performing Arts
Crittenden said, "A
quality music education should be the right of every student. At
a time when we have a focus on the graduation rate of Metro Nashville
Public Schools students, results of surveys sent to the performing
arts teachers showed that Metro Nashville Public Schools students
involved in the performing arts in 2005-2006 had a 98 percent graduation
rate. It is, therefore, our quest to make sure that every student
who wants to participate in band and orchestra can do so. With the
help of CMA in partnership with Nashville Alliance for Public Education,
the wish for this to happen will turn into reality."
In 2001, CMA launched
"Cause for Celebration!" as a way to say thanks to the
hundreds of artists and celebrities who give their time to make
appearances and perform at CMA Music Festival for free. As part
of the "Cause for Celebration!" program, half the net
proceeds from the Festival were donated to charities selected by
the artists. During 2001-2005, CMA donated more than $800,000, divided
among more than 100 individual charities with the majority of the
organizations based in Middle Tennessee.
In 2005, NAPE was the
No. 1 charity chosen by the artists through "Cause for Celebration!"
That year, nearly $20,000 from the funds given to NAPE bought instruments
and a guitar lab for NSA.
Wanting the funds donated to have a lasting and bigger impact while
realizing that the need for improvement in music education was great,
the CMA Artist Relations Committee and Board of Directors evolved
the program in 2006 into "Keep the Music Playing" with
a single focus on music education in Metro Nashville Public Schools.
One hundred percent of
all money donated by CMA Music Festival will be used for music education
and go directly to the schools and school programs identified by
NAPE. Steve Buchanan, Senior VP Media and Entertainment Gaylord
Entertainment and chairman of the CMA Marketing and Communications
Committee serves as a representative of the CMA Board and oversees
the distribution of the CMA Music Festival charitable funds and
report to CMA's Board.
CMA Music Festival is
an unparalleled music experience celebrating America's music. The
event, which Mayor Purcell calls "Nashville's Signature Musical
Event," brings the community together with fans from around
the world. And with more people attending than ever in the history
of the event - 161,000 aggregate attendance over four days in 2006
- CMA anticipates being able to contribute even more to NAPE to
be used for school music programs in 2007.
BY JOHN RUSSELL / CMA
Gentry with students from Isaiah T. Creswell Middle Arts Magnet
is Detroit's exclusive media outlet for this syndicated weekly column!