The 4th annual “Hometown to Hometown” event from Save The Music and SongFarm.org brought the Nashville music community together Monday night (June 5) for a great event, raising over $200k for music education programs in under-resourced public high schools.
Trisha Yearwood, Mickey Guyton and CMT’s Leslie Fram were honored as the 2023 Champions of the Year for their contributions to the music industry and their passion for music education. Funds raised from the event will go towards developing music technology programs in Nashville as well as the honoree’s respective hometowns in Jasper, Georgia (Yearwood) and Dallas, Texas (Guyton).
Throughout the event, honorees, performers and speakers including Kelsea Ballerini, Madeline Edwards, Caylee Hammack, Wendy Moten, Leslie Satcher, Brittney Spencer, Karyn Rochelle and Julie Williams spoke passionately about the bonds shared by women in the music industry, including via CMT’s Next Women of Country program, and the importance of supporting each other’s careers.
Highlights from the evening included Fram leading a powerful conversation between fellow honorees Yearwood and Guyton on themes including inclusivity and the unique challenges women face in the country music industry.
Kicking off the night’s performances, Rochelle and Satcher paid tribute to Yearwood with heartfelt renditions of “Georgia Rain” and “Help Me,” both recorded by Yearwood. Tracy Gershon presented Yearwood with the first Champion of the Year award of the night.
Performing on behalf of Guyton, Spencer earned the night’s first standing ovation with a rendition of Guyton’s powerhouse anthem “Black Like Me.” Hammack followed with a performance of “Sister,” further cementing the night’s theme. UMG Nashville’s Cindy Mabe later presented a tearful Guyton with her award as she reflected on her journey throughout her career and the shift she has brought to country music.
Dedicating her song “The Wolves” to Leslie Fram, Edwards touched on the ways Fram has impacted her career. She was followed by Ballerini, who shared anecdotes about her and Fram’s relationships over the past 10 years before putting a fun spin on her latest single “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too).”
Billboard’s Melinda Newman presented Fram with her award, describing her as a “truth teller” and applauding her “fearless nature” when it comes to tackling issues in the industry. Fram then handed over her acceptance speech to singer Moten, who commanded the stage with a powerful performance of “Don’t Give Up,” delivering the night’s second standing ovation.
Save The Music grant recipient school Whites Creek High School educator Jonathan Curri and his three students Eric Yarber, Briah Robinson and Isaiah Bailey recounted the impact that the music technology grant has had on their school, noting the significance of the evening.
Since its inception in 2019, “Hometown to Hometown” has empowered nine high schools with essential music technology equipment and valuable resources—with three additional schools planned for the fall of 2023.
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