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Students to Perform at Annual Words & Music Night

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Words and MusicNashville, TN -- Young songwriters will fill the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s Ford Theater with songs about chicken noodle soup, the love of autumn, American presidents and more on Tuesday, April 30, during the museum’s annual Words & Music Night. Grammy award-winning artist Gretchen Wilson will host the program. The Words & Music program is made possible by the Country Music Association Endowment for Words & Music. Nashville-area students will perform their original songs accompanied by volunteer professional songwriters during the event. The program begins at 6:00 p.m. and is open to performing students and their families.

“Words & Music allows students to express themselves creatively and learn the craft of lyric writing. The program also provides a unique curriculum-based teaching tool for educators,” said Ali Tonn, director of education and public programming. “The Words & Music Night recital showcases the breadth, depth and quality of those student compositions. This year songs run the gamut, from a witty tune about running from zombies, to a poignant song about the heroism of President John F. Kennedy. When the students perform their songs on the Ford Theater stage with professional songwriters, it is not only a proud moment for the audience of parents, teachers and museum staff, but also an evening of first-rate entertainment. We look forward to it every year.”

Words & Music Night is the culmination of the yearlong Words & Music school program. Classes participating in the program complete creative writing lessons, developed by the museum, which highlight the lyric-writing process and support education standards in language arts and music. Students write or co-write lyrics in the classroom; the lyrics are then given to professional songwriters, who refine their lyrics and add melodies. Finally, students visit the museum for a tour and a performance of their songs by their participating songwriter.

More than 4,400 2nd through 12th grade students at 46 Tennessee schools wrote songs that were put to music by 36 volunteer professional songwriters throughout the 2012–13 school year. This is the 34th year that the museum has offered its Words & Music program. In 2010, the museum launched Words & Music Outreach, a traveling program available to Metro Nashville Public Schools classrooms. The Outreach program is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. NEA funds also support the program’s growing presence in the distance learning community. By the end of this school year, nearly 1500 students from 21 schools across the United States and Canada will have participated in Words & Music via video conference.

The Tuesday night showcase will include performances by students, ranging from 4th to 12th-graders, from Andrew Jackson Elementary, Battle Ground Academy, Bordeaux Elementary, Ensworth School, Grassland Elementary, Joelton Elementary, McFadden School of Excellence, Meigs Magnet Middle School, Mt. View Elementary, Norman Binkley Elementary, Scales Elementary (Williamson County), Spring Hill High School, Thomas Edison Elementary and Woodland Middle School.

Gretchen Wilson burst onto the country music scene in 2004. Her debut album, Here for the Party, sold more than five million copies off the strength of its four hit singles, including “Redneck Woman,” a multi-week #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, and winner of the 2004 Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Wilson also garnered critical and chart success with her subsequent albums All Jacked Up and One of the Boys. She founded her own label, Redneck Records, in 2009, and co-produced her fourth album, I Got Your Country Right HereRight on Time, the first of three albums scheduled for release in 2013.

Wilson is also an advocate for education and adult literacy. She earned her G.E.D. at age 34, after her rise to stardom. In addition to her advocacy efforts, Wilson is also active in raising funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network.

Songwriters volunteering their time and talent to participate in the program during the 2012–13 school year include Deborah Adams, Shane Adams, Joel Atkins, Tim Buppert, Jeff Chase, Kim Copeland, Candace Corrigan, Gary Culley, Jeff Dayton, Anne E. DeChant, Jason Duke, Micki Fuhrman-Milom, Melissa Fuller, Al Goll, Erick Hedrick, Janne Henshaw, Bob Howard, Kathy Hussey, Mark Johnson, Casey Kelly, Les Kerr, Simon McCain, Christy McDonald, Alan Powell, Misty Rae, Leanne Rayo, Rachel Rodriguez, Emily Shackelton, Gary Michael Smith, Bob Spanburgh, Richard Trest, Jerry Vandiver, Tammy Vice, Mare Wakefield, Doug Williams and Telisha Williams.

Participating Nashville-area Words & Music schools for 2012–13 include Andrew Jackson Elementary, Battle Ground Academy, Bordeaux Elementary, Chadwell Elementary, Charlotte Park Elementary, Cockrill Elementary, East Robertson Elementary, Ensworth School, Gateway Elementary, Gower Elementary, Granbery Elementary, Grassland Elementary, Greenbrier Elementary, Haywood Elementary, Hillsboro Elementary, Homer Pittard Campus School, Hull-Jackson Montessori Elementary, Joelton Elementary, John Pittard Elementary, Julia Green Elementary, Lakeview Elementary, Lascassas Elementary, LaVergne Lake Elementary, Liberty Elementary, McFadden School of Excellence, Meigs Magnet Middle School, Mt. View Elementary, Norman Binkley Elementary, Oak Hill School, Overbrook School, Paragon Mills Elementary, Pleasant View Elementary, Ruby Major Elementary, Scales Elementary (Murfreesboro), Scales Elementary (Williamson), Spring Hill High School, St. Ann's Elementary, St. Bernard Academy, St. Henry School, St. Joseph School, St. Mary's Episcopal School, Stanford Montessori Elementary, Sumner Academy, Thomas A. Edison Elementary, Una Elementary and Woodland Middle School.

Participating distance learning schools include Brookview Elementary (Indianapolis, Ind.), Cartmell Elementary ( Carrollton, Ky.), Eastridge Elementary (Indianapolis, Ind.), Frederic Middle School (Frederic, Wis.), Gusty Michael School (Stony River, Alaska), Hawthorne Elementary (Indianapolis, Ind.), Liberty Park Elementary (Indianapolis, Ind.), Lowell Elementary (Indianapolis, Ind.), School of Science & Technology High School (Corpus Christi, Texas), St. Brigid’s (Westbury, N.Y.), Turner Middle School (Lawrence, Kan.), Wahoo Elementary (Wahoo, Neb.), Westsyde Secondary (Kamloops, British Columbia), Windemere Ranch Middle (San Ramon, Calif.) and Woodlawn Elementary (Monticello, Ind.).

Words & Music is made possible by the Country Music Association Endowment for Words & Music. Words & Music Outreach is supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The educational programs of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are funded in part by grants from the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission. Additional support is provided by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Wells Fargo Foundation, Publix Supermarkets Charities, Target, the Marylee Chaski Charitable Corporation and Connie Dean Taylor. Technology partners include CISCO/Tandberg and Promethean.
Participating Nashville-area Words

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