The philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, the CMA Foundation, is continuing its efforts toward supporting equitable music education opportunities across the U.S. with the announcement of Tenille Townes as the non-profit’s newest Artist Ambassador. During her time as a CMA Foundation Artist Ambassador, Townes will visit Stewarts Creek Middle School in Smyrna, TN and Isaiah T. Creswell Middle Magnet School of the Visual and Performing Arts in Nashville, as well as two additional elementary schools in nearby Coffee County. Through these visits and other programming, the CMA Foundation aims to engage, equip and empower both students and educators through the healing power of music.
“We could not be more thrilled to welcome Tenille into the CMA Foundation Artist Ambassador collective,” says Tiffany Kerns, CMA Foundation Executive Director. “She has been such a valuable advocate for the CMA Foundation’s mission to provide equitable access to quality music education across the U.S., and we are grateful for the way she continues to use her voice to enhance and support these initiatives.”
“I truly am honored to be the new CMA Foundation Ambassador and to have the opportunity to be a part of the incredible work they are doing bringing music into the lives of kids out there,” says Townes. “Music is such a powerful force in this world and using it to make a difference in somebody’s life is the most important part about my dream and mission as an artist. I believe in the work that the CMA Foundation is doing so much. Music can completely alter the path of a young kid’s life for the better, giving a sense of purpose, belonging and a safe place to turn to. It still is that place for me, and it makes me so excited to think about so many young students having access to that.”
Townes joins the CMA Foundation’s Artist Ambassador group alongside Jimmie Allen, Russell Dickerson, Lindsay Ell, Maddie & Tae, Ashley McBryde, Caitlyn Smith and Charlie Worsham who have all supported music education initiatives in ways that are unique and personal to them.
- Allen took part in a virtual meeting with a third-grade music class at Snowden Elementary in Memphis, TN to share his story and discuss music and songwriting with the students. He also participated in the CMA Foundation’s Teaching Artist Webinar Series to discuss culturally relevant teaching, music discovery and parenting in a pandemic.
- Dickerson visited with band students at his former high school in May and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry during Teacher Appreciation Week.
- Ell shared the healing power of music with Nashville’s Mt. View Elementary students during a virtual songwriting session in March and taught student guitarists how to restring and tune a guitar.
- In April, Maddie & Tae met virtually with high school choir students and then sat down with female band directors.
- McBryde served as the inaugural Artist Ambassador, meeting virtually with music teachers last year to discuss the obstacles faced while teaching amid the pandemic and sharing how music education led to her career in Country Music. She created a music lesson on building the major scale for teachers and students to use in both their in-person and virtual classrooms.
- Smith created a Songwriting 101 video turtorial to give viewers an inside look at her songwriting process and performed as headliner during “Tuesday Night Music Club” at Basement East in July with merch sales benefitting the CMA Foundation.
- In August, Worsham joined a Tennessee Music Education Association (TNMEA) virtual panel alongside his mother, Sherry Worsham, and TNMEA Advocacy/Government Relations Chair, Christopher K. Dye, to discuss the life-changing impact of music on young people, specifically in rural communities.
Since its inception in 2011, the CMA Foundation has been committed to improving and sustaining music programs throughout the U.S. so all students have equitable opportunities to participate in a high-quality music education. The CMA Foundation believes music and the arts are part of a well-rounded education, investing $27 million to support these efforts over the last 10 years. During this time, the CMA Foundation has observed why music programs are not thriving, seeing first-hand the challenges educators are facing and, most importantly, the systemic issues that must be addressed in order for every child to have access to music. Committed to its vision, the CMA Foundation is working directly with school districts to identify needs, understand their challenges, build community support and develop local and national resources from partners as part of the non-profit’s systems change model.
The CMA Foundation will continue to provide unique opportunities and support for music teachers and students as more Artist Ambassadors are announced throughout the year.
About Tenille Townes
Canadian-born and Nashville-based Tenille Townes is an award-winning singer, songwriter and musician in the midst of a breakthrough year following the release of her acclaimed debut album, The Lemonade Stand. Available now via Columbia Nashville in partnership with RCA Records, the album was produced by Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town) and consists of 12 songs all written by Townes. Since its release, Townes has been named New Female Artist of the Year at the 55th ACM Awards, won three awards at the 2020 Canadian Country Music Awards, making her an eight-time CCMA winner, and received her first JUNO Award for Country Album of the Year at the 50th Annual JUNO Awards. She is also the first female in Mediabase Canada history to achieve two No. 1 singles with album tracks “Jersey On The Wall (I’m Just Asking)” and “Somebody’s Daughter.” Adding to an already notable career, Townes is a MusicRow 2020 Next Big Thing Artist, an iHeartCountry’s “On The Verge” artist and has raised over $2 million for charity through her annual Big Hearts For Big Kids fundraiser.