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United Way seeks songwriters to help its Stuff the Bus effort for needy studentsJune 11, 2012
Each week millions tune in to watch contestants compete on the televised singing shows Duets, The Voice and American Idol. Hopefuls sing their hearts out in front of a panel of judges for a chance at becoming a national recording artist.
Now, the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville has taken this competitive formula and come up with a unique way to combine its mission and the talents of Nashville’s musicians for a worthy cause. With its third annual Stuff the Bus songwriting campaign, the group is looking for songwriters and singers to compete by writing a unique song about the power of helping those in need. The initiative helps at-risk students by providing them with back-to-school supplies.
Its goal is to prepare 2,000 backpacks for needy students with pens, pencils, crayons, rulers and other essentials for their first day of school.
“This is a wonderful way to get the music people involved, as well as the community,” said Marty Slayton, a United Way volunteer and advocate. Slayton, a judge for the competition, also is a backup singer for George Strait. “We are looking for songs with a positive message about lending a hand, volunteering and giving back — all of which is the mission of the United Way.”
The competition is open to professional and amateur songwriters and singers. Ten finalists will perform their songs live. Songs will be judged on lyrics, melody, production and relevancy to United Way’s mission. The winner will be announced that evening, and his or her song will be credited in a United Way of Nashville video, which will include a link to the winner’s website.
Interested individuals have until Monday to submit their songs through the United Way’s site: http://www.unitedwaynashville.org. There is a $10 contest entry fee.
The Stuff the Bus initiative already has helped schools, including Napier Elementary in South Nashville.
“The dedication and commitment from the United Way has helped us tremendously,” said Terri Lawson, director of the FRC Family Resource Center at Napier Elementary. “We were faced with children who did not begin school on time because they did not have the necessities. The United Way has been able to give every single student supplies and backpacks to begin school on time.”
Many families struggle to obtain the basics to get their children ready for school, Lawson said. “The relationship with the United Way allows us to remove these barriers and provide a basic and fundamental education for these children.”