Thursday, October 7, 2010

A DONATES RECORD $2.9 MILLION FROM 2010 CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL TO SUPPORT MUSIC EDUCATION AND AID FLOOD RELIEF IN METRO NASHVILLE
NASHVILLE - CMA is donating all net proceeds - a record $2,924,936 - from 2010 CMA Music Festival to support music education and aid flood relief in Metro Nashville, CMA Board member Kix Brooks announced yesterday at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, which sustained damage in the May floods.

"When we started this program several years ago, the success of the Music Festival itself and the opportunity to have an ongoing contribution to aid in the music programs of our local schools, was just a dream - today we have a reality that has far exceeded our imaginations," Brooks said. "It's working and I can't thank my fellow artists and all the other CMA volunteers enough. Considering the year our community has had, the faithful support from the fans of Country Music could not have come at better time. Big time thanks to everyone!"

"Every cent of the net proceeds from CMA Music Festival is going right back into this community to support causes important to everyone in the industry - music education and aiding recovery in the aftermath of the floods," said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. "We are thrilled to make a donation of this size and we have confidence that the funds will be put to immediate and good use reaching the hands of the people who need it most."

The donation will be split evenly between CMA's "Keep the Music Playing" campaign and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

"The CMA Music Festival went on as planned just a month after the devastating May flood, and it was the largest, most successful Festival to date. I think that's a testament to the strength of Music City and the commitment CMA has to Nashville," Mayor Karl Dean said. "CMA announced just days after the flood that, in addition to the festival proceeds that have historically been set aside for music education in Nashville, the rest of the money generated by the Festival would go to disaster recovery. This is a tremendously generous gift from CMA and the artists that perform at the Festival. On behalf of all the citizens of Nashville that will benefit from this donation, I give a sincere, heartfelt thank you."

With yesterday's announcement, CMA has contributed $4,774,521 to support music education in public schools. This money has been used to build music labs and purchase nearly 4,000 instruments in Metro Nashville Public Schools through a partnership with the Nashville Alliance for Public Education. The total also includes an annual endowment gift for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Words & Music program, which assists language arts and music teachers with classroom instruction in the basics of songwriting.

"Once again, the CMA performing artists have proven their generosity and commitment to 'Keep the Music Playing' in Nashville's public schools," said Pam Garrett, Executive Director of the Nashville Alliance for Public Education. "The impact of this program on the lives of hundreds of students is enormous. The academic results make this program an investment in the future quality of our city. CMA, we can never thank you enough. This is so huge!"

The Alliance was established in 2002 by a group of corporate and civic leaders with the goal of improving public education for Nashville's nearly 78,000 school children. Working in tandem with the Metro Nashville Public School Board and the Director of Schools, the non-profit group identifies areas of need and channels private community resources toward those programs throughout Metro's 139 public schools.

In 2009, the Words & Music program was showcased at the White House during First Lady Michelle Obama's "Country Music Celebration," part of a series celebrating American music. Over the next two years 74 Metro Nashville public elementary schools will participate in Words & Music. During the same period, partially facilitated by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the program will expand through video conferencing to more schools in Tennessee and across the country.

"We are so gratified to have the support of the CMA and our Country Music artists for this important teaching effort," said Museum DirectorKyle Young. "As we watch the program grow, more and more teachers are aided in the ongoing struggle to provide learning experiences that help our youth find their place in the world, see a pathway to achievement and find a route to the blessings that are the promise of America. This work has never been more important, and this endowment gift secures its future."    

Receiving a check on behalf of The Community Foundation was Ellen Lehman, President of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

"Thanks to the kindness of the CMA's fans, performers and the CMA itself, there is now additional money to help our neighbors rebuild their lives," Lehman said. "Through grants to local nonprofits which are counseling, rebuilding homes, and feeding, this gift will assist The Community Foundation and our nonprofit partners as we work toward restoring every corner of our community until the task is completed. Our sincerest thanks to the CMA and its performers and fans."

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee activated its Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management to support relief efforts in May.

Grants from the fund are made to nonprofits supporting relief and restoration in the Davidson County area. Millions of people have been affected by the disaster and while some have recovered quickly, others continue to struggle and may take months or years to rebuild their lives and homes. The Community Foundation's disaster funds will strategically address needs as they emerge and evolve.  

CMA announced the donations during the quarterly Board of Directors meetings in Nashville. The presentation also featured Mayor Dean;Meredith Libbey, Assistant to the Director for Communications with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools; and Duncan McPherson, a sophomore guitar soloist from Nashville Schools of the Arts.

Hundreds of artists perform at CMA Music Festival each year for free. To show its appreciation for their dedication and time, CMA began donating half the net proceeds from the event to charity on their behalf. When the program began in 2001, it was known as CMA's "Cause for Celebration!" From 2001-2005, CMA contributed $800,000 to more than 100 worthy causes, which were selected by each participating artist.

In 2006, the CMA Artist Relations Committee decided to channel those financial resources into a single cause - music education - through CMA's "Keep the Music Playing" campaign and established a partnership with the Nashville Alliance for Public Education to oversee distribution of the funds to the programs with the greatest need.

Two years later, CMA announced a $1 million endowment gift spread over five years in $200,000 annual increments (2008-2012) to the Music Hall of Fame's Words & Music program. 

Supporting music education provides Metro Nashville Public School students with valuable resources and opportunities, providing many of them a strong reason to remain in school. According to Metro schools statistics, students in arts programs have a higher graduation rate than students who don't participate.

"An oboe in the hands of a child who wants to learn, can set a path to a full scholarship to college as a music major," said Carol Crittenden, Metro Nashville Public Schools Coordinator of Performing Arts. "What is the cost? $2,295. What is the value to the student? Priceless! Of course, this can really be said about all of the band and orchestra instruments CMA provides. It is proven in our graduation rates among music students, which is always above 95 percent."

"We could not ask for better support for our schools than we get from CMA," said Metro Schools' Libbey. "Music and arts education can be a great way to engage students, support graduation rates, and inspire a lifetime love of music. The artists who perform at the CMA Music Festival each year are putting instruments in the hands of our students. They sing for free so that nearly 800 kids got instruments this year alone."

CMA Music Festival is an unparalleled music experience celebrating America's music. The event brings the community together with fans from around the world. In June, the 2010 Festival attracted a record-setting 65,000 fans from all 50 states and 26 nations. For the first time, each night at LP Field for the star-packed nightly concerts sold out in advance. The impact on Nashville was undeniable. According to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, direct visitor spending generate by the Festival totaled more than $23 million.

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary next year, the dates for the 2011 CMA Music Festival areThursday through Sunday, June 9-12.  Four-day ticket packages are on sale and fans can purchase tickets through Ticketmaster at Ticketmaster.comor 1-800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased through CMAfest.com or 1-800-CMA-FEST. Ticket prices are based on the level of seating at LP Field for the Nightly Concerts, and range from $115 to $325 plus handling fees. Since the 2010 CMA Music Festival sold out in advance, fans should order their tickets for next year now in order to guarantee their place at what USA Today named "the crown jewel of Country Music festivals."      

For the latest information about tickets and artists appearing at 2011 CMA Music Festival, and more, visit www.CMAfest.com. Sign up for CMA Exclusive, the official eNewsletter of Country Music, where fans get connected to Country and receive exciting updates about your favorite artists, contests, free stuff, and more. Join the free CMA Mobile Community by texting CMAINFO to 66937 (standard text rates apply).

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