Photo Credit: Daniel Brown for ViacomCBS
NASHVILLE, TN – On February 13th, Save The Music and SongFarm.org rallied Nashville’s songwriting and producing community together at the inaugural “Hometown to Hometown” event. The night was full of emotional speeches and intimate musical performances, with over $200k in proceeds raised to benefit new music technology programs in public high schools both locally and nationwide.
Ross Copperman and Nicolle Galyon Honored as “2020 Champions of the Year”; Performances from Michael Ray, Emily Weisband & Blessing Offor
Hosted by CMT’s Leslie Fram, the evening honored GRAMMY-nominated songwriters and producers Ross Copperman and Nicolle Galyon as the “2020 Champions of the Year.” The pair were celebrated for their tireless work to champion music education and their commitment to giving back to their hometown music programs in Virginia and Kansas, respectively.
“The award for me is the gift I get to give to my hometown. It’s my everything,” said Galyon, referencing Sterling, Kansas. She was introduced by Ben Vaughn, President & CEO, Warner/Chappell, who shared heartfelt sentiments about her authenticity, dedication, and unparalleled talent that has touched so many others. Galyon expressed how honored and humbled she was for the honor and her gratitude that funds were allowing a creative outlet for students, something she herself needed at an early age. “What I was wanting was someone to hand me a blank page and ask me what I wanted to put on it,” she shared.
Copperman reiterated her sentiments and praised the work of both SongFarm.org and Save The Music to give students opportunities and tools to succeed. “This whole thing is not about me at all. It’s about Save The Music.” He was introduced by friend and colleague, Josh Van Valkenburg, Senior Vice President, Nashville A&R, Sony/ATV, who echoed Copperman’s selfless nature and influence on the industry and beyond, particularly with students at his alma mater in Roanoke, Virginia.
The most moving speech of the night came from Steve Franco, Copperman’s drama teacher at Glenvar High School, who talked glowingly about Copperman and the impact he has had on students through SongFarm.org, co-founded alongside GRAMMY award winner F. Reid Shippen. “He doesn’t just talk about it, he does it,” said Franco, referencing the Copperman’s mentorship and the full recording studio recently donated to the school. “Magic doesn’t happen unless you give students the tools,” he continued, before introducing two Glenvar students, Tyler Johnson and John Strausbaugh,who were on-hand to share their personal experiences with SongFarm.org and snippets of music they’ve been able to create in the donated recording studio. Franco wrapped up his highly emotional speech by thanking both Galyon and Copperman for pushing students toward their fullest potential, giving them wings to fly and providing them with the necessary tools for discovery, self-worth, and a creative outlet through music.
The evening also included many noteworthy performances, including singer-songwriter Michael Ray who performed his new single, “Her World or Mine” and also shared the healing impact music had on his life at an early age. He called out to Tyler and John and reminded them, “You are the future!” Emily Weisband also took the stage to perform “Getting Good,” the song she penned for Lauren Alaina, while Blessing Offor delivered a chill-inducing performance of his song, “Chasing Spirits.” Copperman performed several of his most well-known songs, including Kenny Chesney’s “Setting the World on Fire” and Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani’s newest duet, “Nobody But You,” while Galyon performed her hit songs “Tequila,” co-written for Dan + Shay and Kelsea Ballerini’s “homecoming queen.”