Country music star Dierks Bentley visited first-year partner school P.S. 103 in the Bronx on September 13, thrilling students who sang along to his hit song “5150” and showed him their newly acquired skills in the music classroom.
The CMA Foundation coordinated the visit with ETM and P.S. 103. The Foundation contacted the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) about working with an organization in New York City that shared its interests in quality music education for all children; NAfME suggested ETM, and it turned out to be a great match.
Not only did the CMA Foundation send Mr. Bentley as an ambassador of their program Keep the Music Playing, it also donated $20,000 to ETM to help purchase instruments and supplies for P.S. 103’s music classrooms. “I’m so grateful for this incredible collaboration with CMA and NAfME,” said Katherine Damkohler, Executive Director of ETM. “It is through working together that we can continue to expose more children to all genres of music and to engage children in learning.”
Mr. Bentley performed for the entire 4th grade in the school gymnasium, and he visited 5th grade and 2nd grade music classes. ETM Music Teachers Kara Simpson and Erin Giacinto taught the students a variety of Bentley’s songs so that they could sing along with him.
“He was shocked that they knew the words to his songs,” said Pete Pauliks, ETM’s Director of Programs.
“They lift you up, inspire you,” Mr. Bentley said.
He believes that children learning to read music, to play an instrument, and to perform in front of others is “an incredible task” that is important during their formative years.
The students were so thankful for his visit and the donation that they wrote thank you cards, highlighting what the visit meant to them.
“We usually don’t get special programs like this in our school. Thank you so much for the instruments so we can build a music community,” wrote one group of students.
Others thanked Mr. Bentley for his performance. “Thank you for appreciating our song as much as we did yours. You coming to our school it was a one of a kind experience.”