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Country stars to shine at MJCA benefit
Oct 20, 2006 12:00 am
A jam session will raise the roof at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy tonight as some of country's biggest stars gather for a third annual benefit to raise money for the school's athletic, music and technology programs.
"This will be an intimate environment where the fans can get to know the artists on a higher level," Mt. Juliet Christian Academy Athletic Director Paul Christensen said. "They will talk about songwriting and explain how they came to write their hit songs. This will go beyond the unplugged and be more amplified with much entertainment."
A rare opportunity awaits country music fans at this event that will focus on the stories behind the songs made famous by singer/songwriters Trace Adkins, Jeff Bates, Paul Overstreet and new comer Aly Cutter.
The concert is organized by Mt. Juliet Christian Academy parent and hit song writer Kenny Beard who will also perform. The event opens at 5:30 p.m. at the school and there will be an auction and opening act by Brian White.
Christensen noted members of the school realize how rare it was to get a huge opportunity like this.
"This group of people have the best hearts and aren't the stereotypical superstars," he said. "When some of them left our first concert, they were thanking us. They are all just good hearted."
Their good hearts are especially close to Beard and his wife Amy, as well as their two children – Cali and Amanda. Both are students at the school.
Each of the artists has a special bond with these two girls and Beard said his friends are ready to sing their hearts out – free of charge – in their honor. Beard has or is producing Trace Adkins and Bates and just signed Cutter.
"All of of these people know my children and are willing to come out here and give for them and this entire school family," Beard said. "I so appreciated the presence of the Bible curriculum at this school and it has been a blessing for our family. I'll do whatever I can to help the church and school grow."
Collectively, it would cost the school about a quarter million dollars to book the stars for the fund raiser. In past years each benefit has raised well over $20,000 for the school.
The show, entitled "Writers in the Round: Kenny Beard & Friends" will showcase these performers and Beard on stage together to talk about their careers and the inspiration for their their songs.
Beard has written over seven number one hits and has over 60 recordings. He's collaborated on and written songs for some of these artists.
"We are thrilled these artists have agreed to take the time to help out our school," Christensen said. "We want to keep tuition dollars down and still provide some things higher priced schools have. Fundraisers like this are our life blood."
The last concert saw well over 800 fans. Grand Ole Opry inductee Adkins will no doubt share tales of how his string of hits were born. The 6-foot 6-inch artist is famous for "The Rest of Mine," a sentimental favorite he wrote with Beard. Another hit is "Then They Do," which he will perform. His latest album is "Dangerous Man."
At an earlier concert, Bates gave an emotional testimony about how he "overcame the devil of drugs." He's extremely popular and spends a lot of time taping public service announcements against METH for the Highway Patrol. His performance may include "The Love Story" and "Long Slow Kisses," hits he wrote
And, prolific songwriter Overstreet had a wildly successful career in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His career is storied and he wrote "Forever and Ever Amen" for Randy Travis and recently "When You Say Nothing at All" for Alison Kraus. He's also penned hits for Kenny Chesney. Overstreet will perform some of his hits and talk about his craft.
Beard said Cutter is a rising star and currently in the studio producing her first CD. She'll bring her fresh stylings to the event.
The auction will give county music fans the chance to bid on unique items such as a Baby Taylor guitar signed by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
Tickets are $20, MJCA students $15 and children five and under free. To purchase them call MJCA at 758-2427 or www.mjca.org.
Mt. Juliet News Managing Editor Laurie Everett may be reached at 754-6897 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.