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Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Words and Music Night April 24

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Country Music Hall of Fame and MuseumNashville, TN -- Young songwriters will fill the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum's Ford Theater with songs about homework, homesickness, tropical islands and more on Tuesday, April 24, during the museum's annual Words & Music Night. The Words & Music program is made possible by the Country Music Association Endowment for Words & Music. Grammy Award-Winning Vocal Group Diamond Rio will be hosting the event.

Nashville-area students will perform their original songs accompanied by volunteer professional songwriters during the event, which will be hosted by Grammy Award-winning group Diamond Rio. The program begins at 6:00 p.m. and is open to performing students and their families.

"The Words & Music program allows students to express themselves creatively and to learn the craft of lyric writing," 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 touching tune about being homesick, to a witty song about what it means to be a boy. 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 program. Classes participating in the program complete a three-part, 15-lesson curriculum, developed by the museum, which highlights the lyric-writing process. 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 4,300 second through eighth grade students at 52 Tennessee schools wrote songs that were put to music by 39 volunteer professional songwriters throughout the 2011-12 school year. This is the 33rd 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 fourth grade classrooms. The program is free courtesy of a grant awarded to the museum by 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 400 students from nine schools across the country will have participated in Words & Music via videoconference.

The Tuesday night showcase will include performances by students, ranging from third- to eighth-graders, from Battle Ground Academy, Ensworth School, Glencliff Elementary School, Joelton Elementary School, Meigs Magnet Middle School, Mt. View Elementary School, Oak Hill School, Overbrook School, Ruby Major Elementary School, St. Joseph School, Stanford Elementary School and Woodland Middle School.

Comprising Marty Roe (lead vocals), Jimmy Olander (lead guitar), Brian Prout (drums), Dan Truman (keyboards), Dana Williams (bass/harmony) and Gene Johnson (mandolin/harmony), Diamond Rio formed in 1984 and signed with Arista Records in the early 1990s. They made history when their debut single "Meet in the Middle" became the first debut single from a group to hit #1 on the country charts, in 1991. They have charted over 30 songs on the Billboard country chart including "Beautiful Mess," "Norma Jean Riley," "How Your Love Makes Me Feel" and "One More Day." They were named the Country Music Association's Vocal Group of the Year four times and the Academy of Country Music's Top Vocal Group of the Year twice.

In 2007, Diamond Rio signed with Word Records and released A Diamond Rio Christmas: The Star Still Shines. They followed up with their first Christian album, The Reason (2009). The Reason won the 2010 Gospel Music Association's Dove Award for Country Album of the Year and the 2010 Grammy award for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album.

Professional songwriters volunteering their time and talent to participate in the program during the 2011-2012 school year include Deborah Adams, Shane Adams, Joel Atkins, Tim Buppert, Jeff Chase, Kim Copeland, Candance Corrigan, Gary Culley, Jeff Dayton, Anne E. DeChant, Moriah Domby, Jason Duke, Steven Farmer, John Feld, Micki Fuhrman-Milom, Doug Gill, Erick Hedrick, Janne Henshaw, Bob Howard, Kathy Hussey, Casey Kelly, Les Kerr, Mark Johnson, Lynn Langham, Bill Maier, Simon McCain, Christy McDonald, Leanne Miele, Alan Powell, Misty Rae, Sandy Ramos, Bill Renfrew, Gary Michael Smith, Bob Spanburgh, Richard Trest, Jerry Vandiver, Tammy Vice, Mare Wakefield and Lee Young.

Participating schools for 2011-2012 include Amqui Elementary School, Battle Ground Academy, Belvoir Christian Academy, Benny Bills Elementary School, Bordeaux Elementary School, Buena Vista Elementary School, Carter Lawrence Elementary School, Chadwell Elementary School, Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts, Cole Elementary School, Donelson Christian Academy, East Robertson Elementary School, Ensworth School, Glencliff Elementary School, Glengarry Elementary School, Granbery Elementary School, Grassland Elementary School, Hattie Cotton Elementary School, Haywood Elementary School, Hillsboro Elementary School, Homer Pittard Campus School, Hull-Jackson Montessori, Inglewood Elementary School, John Pittard School, Julia Green Elementary School, Lascassas Elementary School, Liberty Elementary School, McFadden School of Excellence, Meigs Magnet Middle School, Mt. View Elementary School, Norman Binkley Elementary School, Oak Hill School, Our Savior Lutheran Academy, Overbrook School, Paragon Mills Elementary School, Pleasant View Elementary School, Saint Ann School, Saint Bernard Academy, Saint Henry School, Scales Elementary School (Rutherford County), Scales Elementary School (Williamson County), Smithson Craighead Academy, St. Edward School, St. Joseph School, St. Mary's Episcopal School, Stanford Montessori Elementary School, Sumner Academy, Tom Joy Elementary School, Una Elementary School, Walnut Grove Elementary School, Westwood Elementary School and Woodland Middle School.

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 from the Tennessee Arts Commission through an agreement with the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support for school programs is provided by Ford Motor Company Fund, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Wells Fargo Foundation, and Southwest Airlines.

Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum's mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture. With the same educational mission, the foundation also operates CMF Records, the museum's Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press, Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print®. More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at www.CountryMusicHallOfFame.org or by calling (615) 416-2001.

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