ACM Lifting Lives hosted its 14th annual Music Camp with Vanderbilt Kennedy Center June 14-20 as well as the SENSE Theatre ACM Lifting Lives 2023 Summer Camp with SENSE Theatre, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and Vanderbilt University Department of Theatre on June 12-24.
Both programs are designed to bring together individuals in Nashville for exclusive experiences, personal interactions with artists and unforgettable live performances, in addition to research opportunities in partnership with Vanderbilt University and other institutions.
Thirty campers from all around the U.S. and one camper from Australia participated in a full-slate of personalized activities, starting with the writing of an original song with some of Nashville’s top songwriters, and culminating with a live performance of the song on the Grand Ole Opry stage in front of a packed audience. Stars who joined the campers throughout the week include Lauren Alaina, Ross Copperman, Charles Esten, J.T. Harding, Tiera Kennedy, Madeline Merlo, Frank Ray, Restless Road, Taryn Papa and Tigirlily Gold.
This year, campers started the week by co-writing a song called “Wrap Me Up” with Copperman, Harding, and Restless Road. Campers recorded “Wrap Me Up” with the help of Papa, Copperman and Harding at Ocean Way Nashville before performing the song on the Opry with Opry member Alaina – and earning a standing ovation from the crowd.
During the SENSE Theatre ACM Lifting Lives 2023 Summer Camp, Copperman, Girl Named Tom and Caleb Lee Hutchinson joined the campers during their rehearsals to learn a song and dance and offer encouragement as they prepared for their stage performances on Friday, June 23-24. The program provides a safe place to learn, explore and practice important life skills for individuals with and without autism.
“Hosting these camps is truly the highlight of the year for those involved, both for the campers and those volunteering and doing the research,” says Lyndsay Cruz, ACM Lifting Lives Executive Director and Taylor Wolf, ACM Lifting Lives Sr. Manager and Music Camp lead. “ACM Lifting Lives has placed an important emphasis on mental health awareness and research, and these camps allow our partners at Vanderbilt Kennedy Center to conduct important research on Williams syndrome and autism, all while providing campers with an experience they can’t find anywhere else. The artists and songwriters in Nashville who donate their time to these amazing summer camps are who make this research and fulfilling experience for campers possible, and we thank them for their positive energy and excitement.”
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