Luke Bryan says that from the first time he heard about the Country Music Association's Keep the Music Playing program, he wanted to participate. The CMA board member found his opportunity this year when he volunteered to emcee the Keep the Music Playing All Stars Concert at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville on Tuesday (Feb. 2).

"I remember when I got my own guitar it wasn't a very good instrument, but I was able to eventually get a better one," Luke tells The Boot. "But some of these kids who are in these bands are not able to buy their own instruments, so if it weren't for Keep the Music Playing, they might not even get to learn to play."

Luke says he was encouraged when he heard that the Keep the Music Playing program was funded by money raised from the CMA Music Festival, held in Nashville each June.

"We are Music City, so it makes sense that we would help the kids in Nashville to have instruments to play," says the singer. "I have been fortunate to hear some of the testimonials from kids who have received instruments through this program and have heard firsthand what a cool program this is."

Luke, Sara Evans and many other artists have taken the time to visit with kids in various schools around Nashville, talking to them and even delivering musical instruments to the schools. Luke says when he was in school he was fortunate to always be involved in a music program.

"I was always in some program where my mother would have to make me some kind of costume," he notes. "I have to credit my music teachers for being instrumental in my playing music today."

Throughout the evening, students from elementary- to to high-school-age performed everything from hip-hop to jazz to classical. Luke couldn't let the night go by without performing at least one of his familiar hits, performing 'Do I,' accompanied by student guitarist Sam Hunter. "He's better right now than I'll ever be," the singer said of young musician from the Nashville School of the Arts. "I'm the one who has the jitters; he doesn't even seem nervous."

One-half the net proceeds from the CMA Music Festival are donated to Keep the Music Playing, 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.


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