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PHOTOS: ACM Lifting Lives® Music Camp Celebrates the Healing Power of Music

In a heartwarming display of music's transformative power, ACM Lifting Lives®, the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Country Music®, recently held its 15th Annual Music Camp in partnership with Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. This week-long residential program offers a unique blend of musical enrichment and groundbreaking research for individuals with Williams syndrome.

photos courtesy ACM Lifting Lives, Photos by: Terry Wyatt.

The camp, dedicated to musically talented individuals with Williams syndrome, not only studies this rare genetic condition but also provides an immersive experience into the Nashville music scene. Campers enjoy unparalleled opportunities to engage with some of Nashville’s top musicians and emerging talents, offering them a week they will never forget.

"Hosting this camp is truly the highlight of the year for everyone involved," said Lyndsay Cruz, ACM Lifting Lives Executive Director, and Taylor Wolf, ACM Lifting Lives Sr. Manager and Music Camp lead. "This camp allows our partners at Vanderbilt Kennedy Center to conduct important research on Williams syndrome, all while providing campers with an unforgettable experience. The artists, songwriters, and venues in Nashville who donate their time to this amazing summer camp are the ones who make this research and fulfilling experience for campers possible, and we thank them for their positive energy and excitement."

Funding from ACM Lifting Lives® covers the camp's costs and provides scholarships for several campers. This support enables the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center to further its mission of improving the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families through research, training, and service. This year, thirty campers from across the U.S. participated in activities ranging from songwriting to live performances.

The week kicked off with campers co-writing a song titled “Find the Sunshine” alongside Nashville talents Ross Copperman, Russell Dickerson, and J.T. Harding.

photos courtesy ACM Lifting Lives, Photos by: Terry Wyatt.

With their new song in hand, the campers recorded it at Ocean Way Nashville with help from Tiera Kennedy, Copperman, and Harding. The week culminated with a live performance at the Grand Ole Opry, where the campers received a standing ovation from a packed house.

Throughout the camp, the participants were treated to exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences in the Nashville music industry. ACM award winner Jordan Davis joined the campers at Seacrest Studios at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, where they got to play the role of radio DJ. Conner Smith performed and held a Q&A session at the Bluebird Cafe, and Caylee Hammack led a night of karaoke at Loser's Bar and Grill, featuring surprise appearances by Post Malone and ERNEST.

photos courtesy ACM Lifting Lives, Photos by: Terry Wyatt.

The week was filled with memorable moments, including a line dancing session to Dasha’s hit “Austin” at the Nashville Palace, a visit to Hatch Show Print to design personalized posters, and a behind-the-scenes tour of Municipal Auditorium. The campers even received surprise merchandise from Morgan Wallen, adding to the excitement.

photos courtesy ACM Lifting Lives, Photos by: Terry Wyatt.

The ACM Lifting Lives® Music Camp continues to be a beacon of hope and joy, highlighting the extraordinary impact of music on individuals with Williams syndrome. For more information about Williams syndrome and the camp, please visit ACM Lifting Lives®.


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