CMA Foundation and U.S. Bank Visit Albuquerque High School
to Support Music Education Initiatives
The Country Music Association visited Albuquerque Tuesday, Oct. 15 with songwriters Lauren Alaina, Erin Enderlin, Sierra Hull and Luke Laird. While in Albuquerque, the group met with students and teachers from Albuquerque High School as part of U.S. Bank’s Community Possible giving and engagement platform and its Places to Play partnership with the CMA Foundation, followed by a CMA Songwriters Series Presented by U.S. Bank performance at KiMo Theatre.
The CMA Foundation partnership with U.S. Bank has established a $250,000 grant, a portion of which is being allocated to Albuquerque Public School’s musical instrument repair facility and will support music students for many years to come. Following the school visit, the CMA Foundation surprised Alaina backstage at the KiMo Theatre with a visit from her middle school chorus teacher, Lamar Gillespie who is known to his students as Mr. G. Alaina shared what an encouragement Mr. G was to her while she was growing up and in his chorus class.
“I remember in seventh grade him telling me how I was special and that I was unique and that I needed to go for it,” said Alaina. “That meant so much to me because I think when you’re young you need people like that in your corner and I think music education is so important.”
That evening, the songwriters took part in a captivating performance and shared the stories behind their songs at KiMo Theatre. Hull impressed the crowd with her mandolin skills and she joined Laird in a rousing rendition of Little Big Town’s “Pontoon.” While the writers played their fair share of emotional songs, they also had the crowd laughing along with their jokes and good-natured banter. Lauren Alaina even brought a fan up onstage during her song “Next Boyfriend,” resulting in an uproar of laughter as the “Dancing With The Stars” competitor taught him dance moves onstage. She had the entire theater waving their arms back and forth throughout her first No. 1 song “Road Less Traveled.” Enderlin and Laird reminisced on their college days together at Middle Tennessee State University as they shared stories of the variety of artists who have cut their songs during their years as songwriters. All four songwriters shared about the importance of music education in their lives. They reflected on how programs like those funded through the CMA Foundation helped to form them, leading them to pursue their dreams and careers in music.
During the show, student songwriter Leili Shafie, a sixteen-year-old junior from Albuquerque High School had the opportunity to perform her original song “Yellow Rabbit.” The CMA Foundation visited Shafie and a chorus class earlier that day at her high school and she had the opportunity to talk with Alaina before the show. Shafie’s heartfelt song moved the crowd and ended with a standing ovation from the audience.
See below for the evening’s full setlist.
Luke Laird – “American Kids” (recorded by Kenny Chesney)
Sierra Hull – “Middle Of The Woods”
Lauren Alaina – “Doin’ Fine”
Erin Enderlin – “Monday Morning Church” (recorded by Alan Jackson)
Luke Laird – “Space Cowboy” (recorded by Kacey Musgraves)
Sierra Hull – “Father Time”
Lauren Alaina – “Next Boyfriend”
Leili Shafie (student songwriter)- “Yellow Rabbit”
Erin Enderlin – “Weddings, Funerals, and Empty Hotel Bars”
Luke Laird – “That’s Why I Don’t Drink Anymore”
Sierra Hull – “Best Buy”
Lauren Alaina – “What Ifs” (recorded by Kane Brown ft. Lauren Alaina)
Erin Enderlin – “Whatever Gets You Through the Night”
Luke Laird – “Pontoon” (recorded by Little Big Town)
Sierra Hull – “Everybody’s Talking”
Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled”
Erin Enderlin – “Last Call” (recorded by Lee Ann Womack)