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The student musicians are from schools that have benefited from CMA's Keep the Music Playing program, which supports music education in Metro Nashville's 139 public schools. Since the program began in 2006, more than $4.7 million has been given on behalf of the singers who perform at the festival for free. The 2011 contribution will be announced during a private reception before the Jan. 31 performance.
"Keeping the arts alive in schools is influential on their growth as students and young adults. Music education played an important role in my childhood and I'm proud to be a part of this event," says Chris, who will take the stage with Nashville School of the Arts student Mignon Grabois and Charley Woods, who performed their version of the Band Perry's 'If I Die Young' on last November's CMA Awards telecast.
"One of my favorite memories is the image of my grade school teacher pounding on the piano and leading us in rousing renditions of folk songs," says Suzy, whose 'American Folk Songbook' CD and book released last year have become invaluable teaching tools for music students. "I think every child should have the opportunity to learn music in school."
Suzy will perform a special duet with the Glengarry Elementary Orff Ensemble and Singers during the event. Other Nashville school groups performing include the Bellevue Middle School Band, Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet Theatre and Orchestra Departments and the McGavock High School Wind Ensemble.
Last year's Keep the Music Playing event was hosted by Luke Bryan.