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Darius Rucker and All-Star Friends Raise Money for St. Jude

Darius Rucker
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Darius Rucker‘s fifth annual Darius and Friends benefit concert, which benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, took place Monday night (June 2) at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon and included plenty of artists performing for the important cause.

The ‘Miss You’ singer had announced that Clint Black, Eli Young Band, David Nail, Cassadee Pope, Kenny Rogers, Corey Smith and Thompson Square would all take the stage for the star-studded show. But the sold-out crowd was in for a surprise when Lady Antebellum‘s Charles Kelley joined Rucker on stage to sing the Hootie & the Blowfish song ‘Hold My Hand.’

The evening featured the artists performing several of their hits and a few cover songs as well, including a rousing version of Tom Petty’s ‘Won’t Back Down.’

“This is one of my favorite events every year, and I’m so glad we’re able to support St. Jude for the fifth year in a row,” Rucker says. “St. Jude does such amazing work for young cancer patients and their families, and I’m grateful to all my fellow artists and friends for coming together to have some fun and support such a great cause.”

St. Jude has not yet announced the amount of money raised from the benefit. Last year’s concert raised more than $95,000.

The South Carolina native’s goodwill extended far beyond the show that day. He also stopped in at the W.O. Smith School of Music in Nashville to help support a mobile vision exam station, set up by the Transitions organization, to help young, budding musicians improve their vision.

“A lot of kids don’t even know they need glasses until they read music,” Rucker explains to WSMV-TV. “The music is so small on something so far away, and then they figure out they need glasses. They’re getting eye exams, and if they need glasses, Transitions is going to supply the glasses for them.”

Darius Rucker and Friends serves as the unofficial kick-off to Nashville’s annual CMA Music Fest. The four-day lineup of non-stop shows begins tomorrow (June 5), with hundreds of artists taking the stage, including plenty of free shows. A complete list of performances can be found here.

NEXT: Rucker Performs With Boy With Down Syndrome

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