On the Grand Ole Opry Stage Country Artists Sing the Praises of Music Teachers


On October 27, a special concert at the Grand Ole Opry House kicked-off the 2013 National Association of Music Education’s (NAfME) National In-Service Conference  for  about 3,500 conference attendees, invited guests and All-National Honor Ensemble students. 


Casey James shared stories on the Opry stage.
Casey James shared stories on the Opry stage.


 American Idol finalist and Sony Music Nashville recording artist Casey James, known for country radio hits “Let’s Don’t Call It A Night,” and “Crying On Her Suitcase,” is an advocate for access to music in schools. “I really appreciate what music teachers are doing for aspiring musicians,” he said. “Music education is very important to me and I’m glad I can be a part of NAfME’s National Conference in this way.”


As Sarah Darling sang “Landslide” members of he audience responded by waving their cell phone lights

Country music star Sarah Darling, 2013 recipient of NAfME’s “Stand for Music Award, adds, “My 7th and 8th grade music teacher, Ms. Stephanie Rumple, was a great influence on me. It was her careful guidance and passion for the arts that started me on my musical journey. I feel like I owe her, and all of the music teachers out there who help preserve music in our schools a huge ‘thank-you’, for all they do. This concert will hopefully resonate with them as our way of showing thanks for their work that sometimes goes unrecognized!”


Striking Matches opened the special Opry House concert.
Striking Matches opened the special Opry House concert.


Striking Matches, a MTV/VH1/CMT’s O Music Awards finalist, showed off  blazing guitar skills.  Philadelphia native Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis, from Atlanta met when a professor at Belmont University in Nashville paired them at random to play together for a classroom full of guitar majors. Between songs they talked about how much their music education meant to them.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean opened the concert, welcoming NAfME conference attendees to Nashville and sharing his views on the importance of music education programs.


Photos by Randi Randcliff

Roz Fehr, NAfME Managing Editor for News, October 28, 2013. © National Association for Music Education