ACM Lifting Lives® and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities will partner again for the 2nd Annual ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp this summer, June 26-July 1, 2011, in Nashville, TN. Country superstars Gary Allan, Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood and Wynonna along with hit songwriters Odie Blackmon and Brett James and renowned producer Mark Bright have graciously agreed to volunteer their time with the special-needs campers, at various points throughout the week.The Camp—a week-long residential program open to individuals with developmental disabilities, talented in music from around the nation—has a dual purpose of studying Williams syndrome and other developmental disabilities and providing music enrichment through performance and education. ACM Lifting Lives funds the costs of the Camp, enabling the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center to advance its mission of improving the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families through research, training and service.Campers will participate in a songwriting workshop and recording session, culminating in a live performance at the Grand Ole Opry. At the Opry, campers will reprise their 2011 ACM Awards hit "Music from the Heart" and share an original song they will write at this year's camp. Throughout the week, campers will also gain the invaluable experience of visits from top-tier country music veterans. Prior camps have featured artist visits from Kix Brooks, Julianne Hough, Eddie Montgomery, LeAnn Rimes and more. This year's camp involves more artists than ever, including:Monday, June 27th – 9:30am-12noon: Songwriting Workshop with Gary Allan, Odie Blackmon & Brett James, at University School of Nashville.Tuesday, June 28th – 4:00pm-5:00pm: Visit to Manuel with Little Big Town, at Manuel's on Broadway.Tuesday, June 28th – 5:00pm-8:00pm: Dinner & Karaoke with Wynonna, at Winner's Bar.Wednesday, June 29th – Recording Session with Mark Bright and Carrie Underwood (closed to media)Friday, July 1st – 7:00pm-8:00pm: LIVE Performance with Darius Rucker at the Grand Ole Opry.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced today that performances by three of the world's top country music acts will be broadcast during the prime-time MDA Labor Day Telethon on Sept. 4. The special performances were taped during their Grand Ole Opry live performances last night
In addition to performing, hit-makers Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, and Darius Rucker chatted with MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Abbey Umali, the 12-year-old dynamo so instrumental in reminding business and civic leaders why it's so important to help MDA speed research seeking treatments and cures for progressive muscle diseases affecting more than a million Americans.
"We're pleased that country music's most famous stage was able to help create truly memorable segments for the MDA Labor Day Telethon," said Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher. "Lady Antebellum, Martina, and Darius transformed their Opry performances into must-watch television to help advance MDA's lifesaving mission."
. "It's been an unbelievable year for us," said Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, the country group that recently won five Grammy Awards for its hit song, Need You Now. "Charles, Dave and I always have a great time performing at the Opry, and this one was extra special since it will be included in the MDA telethon on Labor Day. It warms our hearts to be part of the nearly 50-year tradition that means the world to families living with muscular dystrophy."
Superstar Martina McBride, who in 2004 helped fulfill the wish for a young girl with muscular dystrophy and has previously made MDA Telethon appeals, said, "I encourage everyone to tune in to the Telethon and support the Muscular Dystrophy Association. MDA sends thousands of kids with muscular dystrophy to magical week-long summer camps each year, funds worldwide research and maintains nearly 200 clinics to help families across the ....US..... It's important we continue to help MDA help so many others."
Having made a special connection with Darius Rucker during the March Country Radio Seminar in ....Nashville...., MDA's Abbey Umali beamed when Rucker asked her to join him yesterday in singing his 2010 Billboard number-one single Come Back Song. "Abbey rocked the house on Come Back Song," said Rucker. "I'll long remember this duet, and I hope it will be particularly powerful for the tens of millions watching the MDA Telethon at home."
The iconic stars also taped special Telethon tune-in messages and appeals that throughout August and early September will be running frequently on more than 150 television stations comprising the MDA "Love Network," as well as on hundreds of radio stations nationwide.
Darius Rucker received a special honor on Friday, May 20 when he welcomed The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) newest medical professionals during a commencement address as the keynote speaker.
In speaking to the graduates from six colleges within MUSC Rucker shared, "You guys said to the world, 'I'm going to take my brains, my talents, and my smarts and I'm going to help make the world a better place,' and I want to thank you for that. Today is a day I will never forget."
MUSC is special to Rucker as his mother was a long-time employee of the University and due to his recent role on the board of the Children's Hospital.
Rucker sported a cap and gown during the ceremony and he didn't leave empty handed—he was given an honorary diploma that he said he will be prominently displayed in his home in Charleston, South Carolina. "That way everyone should know to call me Dr. Rucker," he said.
For more information, please visit www.dariusrucker.com.
Military personnel joined Darius Rucker on the stage during his concert at Military Appreciation Day at THE PLAYERS Championship. Chris Condon
By Michael Curet, Special to Together, Anything's Possible
"We'll get through all that life can bring and I know together anything is possible!"
That was the message that Darius Rucker left in the hearts and minds of thousands who attended the third annual Military Appreciation Day concert at TPC Sawgrass, singing the very words of the song ("Together, Anything's Possible") that he wrote only a few months ago for the PGA TOUR.
When Rucker moved the audience with a beautiful a capella rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner," the words never seemed more appropriate than they did today.
Earlier in the day, Rucker made a surprise visit to the Patriots' Outpost to address various members of the military and their families who were enjoying a day filled with hospitality at its finest at THE PLAYERS.
"I've been all over the world. We live in the greatest country in the world because we're free," said Rucker. "The reason we're free is because of you and the sacrifices you and your families make every day. I say thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Rucker's visit to the tent was not the only surprise of the evening.
Military Warriors Support Foundation Director Leroy Sisco introduced PGA TOUR player Jim Furyk, who stunned two of the guests on stage, Lance Cpl. Anthony Sayo and Sgt. Nate Helmuth, with a set of keys to a mortgage-free new home.
"My uniform is a golf shirt," said Furyk. "Soldiers like Anthony and Nate put on the uniform of the United States of America. They have chosen to put country first and dedicate their lives to protecting and defending the greatest nation in the world.For that, we owe them a debt of gratitude. At the PGA TOUR, we give back and that's what we'd like to do right now on behalf of the Military Warriors Support Foundation and their partners."
Following the home presentation from Furyk and a playlist from the Navy Band Southeast as a warmup, it was Rucker time.
Rucker opened with his 2009 No. 1 country hit "Alright" and broke into a 10-song set, mixing a little old and new to the delight of the crowds. He was never better on vocals when he hammered out his biggest hits from when he was lead vocalist for Hootie & the Blowfish: "Only Wanna Be with You" and "Hold My Hand." He added two more No. 1 selections from his newfound success in his country career, with "The Comeback Song and "Don't Think I Don't Think About It." Then there was the crowd-pleasing rendition of David Allen Coe's country classic "You Never Even Called Me by My Name."
Prior to the free concert on the lawn of the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem expressed gratitude to all the men and women in uniform, and recognized on stage Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead—the highest-ranking United States Navy officer.
"All of us are here to show our support for all of our men and women," said Finchem. "I'd like to single out the United States Navy and our intelligence forces for the work they did 10 days ago in Pakistan."
Admiral Roughead praised the ongoing support of the Wounded Warrior Project, Military Warriors Support Foundation and the PGA TOUR. "You do things that make a difference and contribute substantially to the programs that allow our men and women to come back, feel appreciated—especially for those that need the programs to reintegrate back into a life that maybe has affected them in ways that most of us can't comprehend."
The Commissioner also introduced JELD-WEN CEO Rod Wendt, who presented a check for $10,000 to Wounded Warrior Project Executive Vice President Dan Nevins.