Beginning Thursday (6/10), more than 700 journalists in town to cover the 2010 CMA Music Festival will hear first-hand about how CMA’s “Keep the Music Playing” donations benefit the music programs in Metro Nashville Public Schools. More than 50 volunteers – the majority of them music teachers – will be driving five official “Press Express” vans daily from 7:00 AM-1:00 AM. The vans shuttle media throughout various event sites, including the Nashville Convention Center and LP Field.
Proceeds from the CMA Music Festival have benefited charities since 2001. In 2006, a decision was made to direct all funds to one central cause – music education in Metro Nashville Public Schools – through a partnership with the Nashville Alliance for Public Education. As in the past, 50 percent of the net proceeds from the 2010 CMA Music Festival will go to Metro Nashville Public Schools for music education. CMA announced last month that the other 50 percent will be donated to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for flood relief.
“We work very closely with the CMA to improve the music programs in Metro’s schools,” says Pam Garrett, Executive Director of the Nashville Alliance. “The ‘Press Express’ program is an opportunity for our teachers to act as ambassadors for ‘Keep the Music Playing’ and talk about music education and the model the Alliance established to place instruments in the hands of children who need them most.”
To date, CMA has donated over $3.3 million to purchase more than 3,000 musical instruments, equipment and supplies in 67 schools. Thousands of students have been provided with the resources and opportunities they could not have afforded on their own.
Dr. Jesse Register, Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, is appreciative of the initiative. “We are so grateful for the generosity of CMA over the past several years. We know that 98% of our performing arts students graduate and that has a huge impact on the overall success of our school district. We thank CMA and also the Nashville Alliance for Public Education for their partnership that has brought music education in Metro Public Schools to a whole new level. Our teachers and directors are volunteering in a big way this week to show their gratitude. ‘Keep the Music Playing’ is a magnificent program.”
Beth Voltz, a Strings Teacher at I.T. Cresswell Arts Magnet Middle School, says educators want to recognize CMA’s impact on their music programs. Voltz, who has taught in Metro since 1993, is excited about the opportunity to give back by volunteering as a “Press Express” driver. She will shuttle the media on Thursday from 7:30 AM-4:00 PM. While driving, she plans to share personal stories about how CMA’s donations have impacted her students.
“In the past, we didn’t have enough instruments for our students, and the ones we had were horrible,” says Voltz. “Music programs struggle when students can’t afford to buy their own instruments. Now, we have students who are excelling because they have shiny new instruments that are not broken. I see their joy and that of their families! I can’t tell you how many parents have thanked me for giving their children the opportunity to play an instrument. This is all thanks to CMA and Nashville Alliance.”
“Every hour that a person volunteers for the Festival represents savings that go directly to our schools and neighbors that need it most,” said CMA Chairman of the Board Steve Moore. “We think the media will enjoy the stories the music teachers share about their music program successes. Hopefully, the journalists will take what they learn home and help generate interest in starting similar programs in their local communities and school systems.”