Country Artist Dierks Bentley Visits School to Speak to the Importance of Providing Access to Music Education for all Children
Event Footage Will Be Available for Download Today at 7:15 PM/ET
NEW YORK CITY – Country star Dierks Bentley visited P.S. 103, The Hector Fontanez School, in the Bronx, New York, today to talk about the importance of music as a form of expression and a compelling reason to help keep children engaged in school.
“CMA’s Keep The Music Playing does so much to enable the future of kids who might not have a hands-on experience with music otherwise,” said Bentley. “I was honored that they asked me to be their ambassador for the day on behalf of all the Country Music artists who donate their time each year to help this cause. They’ve made a huge dent in the music needs in Nashville, so it was really cool to help expand their mission to one of Country Music’s top markets like New York City.”
Bentley, who was in New York performing as part of the CMA Songwriters Series at Joe’s Pub, met with the fourth-grade class and toured two music rooms, which were completely outfitted with instruments and supplies, provided by The CMA Foundation and the CMA Keep the Music Playing program. Video footage from today’s visit will be made available for media download at http://ftp.magnosound.com. (Log-in: cmafoundation; password: dierksbentley)
“This program was conceived by our artist community,” said CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore. “So, it is terrific when our artists are able to visit the schools we support and see firsthand the impact these instruments have on the lives of the students and teachers.”
The Keep the Music Playing program was created in 2006, by CMA’s Artist Relations Committee, to support music education in public schools on behalf of the artists who perform for free during CMA Music Festival each June. To date, CMA has contributed more than $6 million to purchase equipment and more than 4,000 instruments for this important initiative.
The goal of the Keep the Music Playing program is to get instruments into the hands of the kids who need them most. In New York, CMA was introduced to Education Through Music (ETM) through a relationship with the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), a trade association representing more than 60,000 music educators. Education Through Music was established in 1991 and its partner school program currently serves 14,000 New York City school children.
“The mission of Education Through Music is very compatible and complements our own goals for Keep the Music Playing,” said Moore. “It is a terrific marriage of resources – we want all children to have access to quality music education. And ETM provides highly-trained music teachers for elementary and middle Title 1 schools in at-risk neighborhoods. In this case, CMA is helping by providing the tools and instruments they need to teach a sustainable, comprehensive program.”
The need is there. According to the New York City Department of Education’s Annual Arts in Schools Report (2010-2011), 55 percent of New York City public schools do not have a full-time certified music teacher on staff. And the budget for arts materials and supplies in NYC public schools has decreased by 82 percent from 2007 to 2011. Studies show that students who participate in the arts are more engaged in school, have better test scores in math and English, and are more likely to graduate.
“We are so thankful to NAfME for facilitating the relationship with CMA and setting the stage for this donation,” said Pete Pauliks, Program Director for ETM. “Our program serves many communities across the U.S. We applaud Dierks Bentley and all artists who step up to talk about the importance of supporting music education in our schools.”
“I’m so grateful for this incredible partnership with CMA,” said Katherine Damkohler, Executive Director of ETM. “By providing materials and supplies to support music instruction for students of P.S. 103, they are making a real difference for children in New York City. I hope we can continue to work together, to expose more children to all genres of music and engage children in learning.”
P.S. 103, The Hector Fontanez School, is a new school serving nearly 1,200 Pre-K-fifth grade students – children who have never had access to music education. Two rooms were devoted to music education and ETM is providing two credentialed music teachers for the school – Erin Giacinto and Kara Simpson. Keep the Music Playing and The CMA Foundation provided $20,000 to purchase songbooks, recorders, keyboards, xylophones and more to completely outfit the classrooms.
“So appreciative of the generosity of the CMA,” said Farid Reyes, principal of P.S. 103. “Our kids deserve the best, and CMA and ETM are making that possible.”
New York City embraces Country Music. It is a top market for Country record sales and tours. Since 2005, the CMA Songwriters Series at Joe’s Pub has played to sold-out crowds. The Series showcases the stories behind the songs by shining a spotlight on the songwriters who have penned some of the biggest hits in the format. Bentley is performing two shows tonight (6:30 and 9:00 PM/ET) with Jim Beavers, Jaren Johnston, and host Bob DiPiero.
CMA Award-winning singer/songwriter, Bentley has forged his own brand of Country Music combining classic Country songwriting, influences of bluegrass instrumentation and the energy of rock ‘n’ roll. He recently released a four-song EP titled Country & Cold Cans, which followed Bentley’s sixth studio album Home, released earlier this year. The album debuted at No. 1 and has spawned three chart-toppings hits, marking 10 career No. 1 songs as a singer and songwriter. Home also garnered Bentley three 2012 CMA Award nominations for Album of the Year and Single and Song of the Year for the title track. His five previous studio albums have sold more than five million copies and earned him an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.
Bentley will also appear in “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” airing Monday Sept. 17 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network. Co-hosted by Luke Bryan and Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry, the three-hour special features the A to Z of Country Music’s hottest stars with a stellar concert lineup including: Jason Aldean, Kix Brooks, Eric Church, Brantley Gilbert, Hunter Hayes, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Scotty McCreery, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Hank Williams Jr., and Zac Brown Band.
About The CMA Foundation: The nonprofit CMA Foundation (501c3) was created by CMA in 2011. The Foundation exists to provide financial support to worthwhile causes that are important to CMA and the Country Music community. The Foundation places special emphasis on serving the needs of CMA’s core constituents and nonprofit organizations with initiatives that preserve the legacy of the format, support music education, and respond to other needs identified by CMA.
About Education Through Music: Education Through Music, Inc., (ETM) believes that every child deserves a well-rounded education, and that music should be taught within that education both as a subject in its own right and as a means of supporting learning in other areas. ETM ensures that every student in its partner schools receives music instruction as a core subject, and ETM works closely with principals and school leaders to build sustainable programs. ETM’s partner school program is serving 14,000 at-risk students at 28 New York City schools during 2012-13, and the model reaches 20,000 children nationwide. To learn more about Education Through Music visit: http://www.ETMonline.org or call 212-972-4788.