The CMA Foundation Donates $1.2 Million to Metro Nashville Public Schools Through CMA’s Keep The Music Playing Music Education Program

Written by SLN Staff Writer
The CMA Foundation Donates $1.2 Million to Metro Nashville Public Schools Through CMA’s Keep The Music Playing Music Education Program

Photo By: Donn Jones/CMA*

The CMA Foundation donated $1.2 million to benefit music education programs for Nashville’s 81,000 public school students from 2012 CMA Music Festival through the Keep the Music Playing campaign at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Tuesday night.

The announcement raises CMA’s Keep the Music Playing support of music education in Metro Schools from $5.3 million to more than $6.5 million. This money has been used to build music labs and purchase instruments and supplies for all 144 Metro Nashville Public Schools through a partnership with the Nashville Public Education Foundation.

“Providing instruments for every Metro school is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “When we started this program in 2006, instruments in Metro band programs were more than 30 years old – if they were lucky enough to have them at all. Seeing what this program has accomplished on behalf of our artists is extremely gratifying. Keep the Music Playing is making a difference by helping to make quality music education a reality for our children.”

In 2006, the CMA Artist Relations Committee established the Keep the Music Playing program to give back to the community on behalf of the hundreds of Country artists who perform and make appearances at CMA Music Festival each year for free.

The announcement of the 2012 CMA Music Festival donation was made at a reception prior to the Fourth Annual CMA Keep the Music Playing All Stars Concert at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The All Stars Concert honors the best elementary, middle, and high school performance groups selected from Metro Schools.

CMA Award nominee Scotty McCreery hosted the concert and was on hand for the donation announcement, which was attended by band directors and music teachers from Metro Schools, as well as representatives from The CMA Foundation, CMA Board of Directors, Music City Music Council, and Nashville Public Education Foundation.

Scotty McCreery hosts CMA’s Fourth Annual Keep the Music Playing All Stars Concert held last night at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Photo By: Donn Jones/CMA

Famous for winning “American Idol” before he graduated high school, McCreery understands firsthand the importance of music education. In addition to hosting the CMA All Stars Concert, McCreery performed “The River” (made famous by Garth Brooks) with students from Sylvan Park Elementary School.

“When I was in high school in North Carolina, I was very involved in the school’s music program which provided the foundation that inspired my music career today,” said McCreery. “And as a proud performer at the past two CMA Music Festivals, it’s an honor to represent CMA’s Keep the Music Playing, a program that gives back to schools in such a big way. Hosting the All Stars Concert and performing with the students of Sylvan Park Elementary has been an unforgettable experience and I’m glad I was able to share the stage with such talented young people.”

“Putting instruments in the hands of children is one of the most important initiatives undertaken by The CMA Foundation,” said Kitty Moon Emery, Chair of The CMA Foundation Board of Directors. “Supporting music education is an investment in the future of our city and our industry. It is an honor to nurture these young performers and provide them with the resources and opportunities they need and to advance their skills and achieve their dreams.”

In addition to Emery, the Mayor of Nashville, the honorable Karl Dean; Nashville Public Education Foundation Board Chair Michael Carter, Sr.; and Director of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Dr. Jesse Register attended the announcement.

During the program, Michael Weidman, Chevrolet National Promotions Manager, presented a new Chevrolet Traverse, which will be used to pick up and deliver instruments for the Keep the Music Playing-funded instrument repair facility for Metro Schools; which means repaired instruments will get back into the hands of students faster.

“Chevrolet supports America’s youth and understands the value and role music can play in the lives of students,” Weidman said. “We are proud to support such a worthwhile cause and remain committed to our outstanding partnership with the Country Music Association and Keep the Music Playing.”

Studies show students who participate in the arts are more likely to graduate. Metro’s performing arts students have a 96 percent graduation rate compared to 78.4 percent for the general population. Sixty percent of Metro students are involved in music education classes – including 100 percent of elementary school students.

The music programs keep the students engaged in high school, but the musical training also provides access to potential college scholarships so these students can further their education and earn degrees.

All Stars are selected by Metro Nashville Public Schools Coordinator of Performing Arts Dr. Nola Jones and include Antioch High School Wind Ensemble, Croft Middle Design Center Advanced Orchestra, Meigs Academic Magnet Wind Ensemble, the Nashville School of the Arts Festival Choir, Oliver Middle School Wind Ensemble, and Sylvan Park Elementary School.

“In Metro Schools, we’re providing every student with the foundation to excel in higher education, work and life. Music education is an essential part of that,” said Register. “Keep the Music Playing has provided musical instruments to our students who come from 130 nations around the world. With musical instruments in their hands, students share a common language and opportunity to transform their lives.”

With this announcement, the total figure for the Keep the Music Playing program is $7.6 million. This figure includes a $1 million 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; support of the 2012 W.O. Smith summer camp program; and a recent instrument donation to P.S. 103 in the Bronx, NY.

2013 CMA Music Festival will be held Thursday through Sunday, June 6-9. Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, and Carrie Underwood have already been announced as performers, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets are available now, call 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378); visit; or visit to buy online or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000. Ticket prices start at $115 for Upper Level General Admission.

For the latest information about tickets and artists appearing at 2013 CMA Music Festival, and more, visit 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, giveaways, and more.

*PHOTO: L to R: CMA Board President, Ed Hardy; CMA Board Chairman, Troy Tomlinson; CMA Chief Executive Officer, Steve Moore; Director of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Dr. Jesse Register; Scotty McCreery; Nashville Mayor Karl Dean; Chevrolet National Promotions Manager, Michael Weidman; Chair of The CMA Foundation Board of Directors, Kitty Moon Emery; and Nashville Public Education Foundation Board Chair, Michael Carter, Sr.