Scott Hamilton & Friends’ Fifth Annual Benefit Event in Nashville

Lady A, Maron Morris, Hunter Hayes Will Lead an All-Star Tribute to Songwriter busbee

Written by Vernell Hackett
Scott Hamilton & Friends’ Fifth Annual Benefit Event in Nashville
Lady A; Photo credit: Alysse Gafkjen Maren Morris; Photo courtesy of Pilgrimage Festival Hunter Hayes; Photo credit: Ashley Osborn

Figure skating great Scott Hamilton will host an all-star night of music and skating performances as part of his 5th Annual Scott Hamilton & Friends at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Sunday (November 21). This year’s event will be a tribute to the late songwriter and record producer busbee, who passed away in 2019 just months following his Glioblastoma diagnosis, which is a form of brain cancer.

Lady A, Maren Morris, Hunter Hayes, Cece Winans, Grace Potter and For King and Country are among the performers who will participate in the evening of live music and figure skating to busbee’s hits. Sixwire will be the house band for the event. Hamilton says he chose busbee to be honored during this benefit for his Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, dedicated to changing the future of cancer by funding advanced, innovative research that treats the cancer while sparing the patient. He added that here will be a surprise guest at the event.

“I spoke to busbee on the phone for 20 minutes or so when he was going through his cancer,” Hamilton revealed to Sounds Like Nashville. “I do that with a lot of patients. He was a really nice guy; he was pretty dedicated to his treatment plan. There was no real proven treatment for his cancer. When I was thinking about the show this year, I thought what if we did something to honor him and celebrate his life with his music. I reached out to his wife Jessie, and she was onboard immediately and thought it was a great thing to do. Then I reached out to the artists who had recorded his songs and worked with him, and the ones who could be there said yes.”

Among the world, national, and Olympic Champions who will participate in the benefit in choreographed groups and solo performances are two time Olympic Champion Katia Gordeeva, Olympic Gold Medalist Ilia Kulik, Olympic Bronze Medalist Kaetlyn Osmond, Olympic Bronze Medalist Jeffrey Buttle, Olympic Bronze Medalist Meagan Duhamel with Olympic Silver Team Medalist Dylan Moscovitch, Olympic Bronze Team Medalist Jeremy Abbott, Olympic Bronze Team Medalist Gracie Gold, three time World Medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, two time US National Champion Alissa Czisny and US National Champion Ryan Bradley. Social media sensation Elladj Baldé will make his event debut.

“This is the only time these performances can be seen, on Sunday night in Nashville,” Hamilton said. “We urge people to come out to see these wonderful performances and help with the benefit. It is a great family night and we have kept the ticket prices low so anyone who wants to come out can be there.”

Hamilton was in the final stages of setting up the event when he spoke with Sounds Like Nashville, and he was excited to see it all come together. “This is a very large production that has a lot of musical parts,” Hamilton says. “We have worked on it for months, but we are assembling the show as the performers arrive. We have to get everyone on the same page, musically, but we put it all together in one day. Right now pieces are being rehearsed separately, and on Sunday we have a dress rehearsal in the afternoon. It’s a big machine, with lots of crazy moving parts, but it is super fun. It takes more to make it work than a lot of people would think it does. 

“Because it is a benefit show, everything is first class, super high end but at same time it is also one of those things where you have to come in right budget, everything has to be just so,” he explains. “It’s amazing that everybody is in the same spirit, they want to make an impact in the cancer community and to make sure we honor those people who are fighting for their lives. It is a big deal to represent so many people who have been impacted by this disease. It is really a beautiful undertaking and an honor to step into the gap and really push for the research to make things happen for new therapy.”

The Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation funds cancer research in order to advance the science. “We don’t own the research, the scientists use their time and energy, and it all comes together to make the next miracle happen,” Hamilton explains how the Foundation works together with different scientists who are working on cancer research. “We do it with an open heart, and we work with different research places. It is such a joy to make it (research) happen. For me, when we are looking at research projects, by the time they get to us it’s been vetted through other organizations that understand the science that we are trying to promote. If you do the research, you never have to do it again. The body creates cancer so why can’t we teach the body how to recognize and destroy it.   

“We are working very hard and we have a lot of people who work tirelessly alongside of us. When you lose someone you love you have to do something. People a lot smarter than me have helped with this … how can I help, I want to be part of the solution. From there doors open and its remarkable to see the promise of the next miracle and participate in that, it’s really an honor.” 

Funding cancer research was important to Hamilton after he lost his mother and then after he survived his own fight with the disease. “One of first things I did when I survived cancer, I wanted to fund research,” Hamilton says. Then the internationally known skater took it a step farther. “When I was diagnosed, I asked how sick I would get and they said moderate to severe. I realized something was missing in this equation. We have now established the Fourth Angel mentoring program, pairing newly diagnosed patients with survivors. The survivors work together as a role model for the new patient, acting as a Life Coach in some ways. It is really cool to see that relationship and how it blossoms and connects people and gives them guidance and information. We were able to do amazing work with these mentors and when patients survive they want to become a mentor.”  

Tickets for the 5thannual Scott Hamilton & Friends, starting at $30.95, are available at Bridgestone Arena Box Office and ticketmaster.com. Proceeds from the concert will fund Glioblastoma research through the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, dedicated to changing the future of cancer by funding advanced, innovative research that treats the cancer while sparing the patient.