Martina McBride, Marcus Hummon and Avalon Spotlight Upcoming Music City Tennis Invitational

Sponsors of the Music City Tennis Invitational kicked off their publicity campaign Tuesday (April 18) with a party and mini-concert at the place where the money from the annual benefit goes — the Child Development Center at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville.

Martina McBride, singer/songwriter Marcus Hummon and the Christian vocal group Avalon spent an hour singing for and mingling with children who are patients at the hospital.

“I have two little girls,” McBride told the children before beginning her performance. “I know how hard it is for you and your parents … You guys are so brave and such heroes to us.”

Avalon opened the show with three of its No. 1 hits, “Picture Perfect World,” “Adonai” and “Testify to Love.” Hummon followed with “Cowboy Take Me Away” and “Love Is The Right Place,” songs he co-wrote for the Dixie Chicks and Bryan White, respectively. McBride rounded out the program with her high-spirited “I Love You.” As a finale, all three acts, plus new RCA Records artist Coley McCabe, joined together for an impromptu rendering of “You’ve Got a Friend.”

Last year’s Music City Tennis Invitational raised more than $40,000 for the Child Development Center.

This year’s edition of the charity will be held at the Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Tennis Center at Vanderbilt University April 29-30. It is open to players at all levels of proficiency. There will also be a Pro-Am Tournament on April 27 and a free junior clinic at the YMCA at Maryland Farms on April 28. Details are available from Patsy Bradley at (615) 401-2704 and at www.musiccitytennis.com.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.