During a recent press conference in Nashville, Kelly Clarkson got visibly emotional at least four times while talking about the beneficiaries of her second Miracle on Broadway charity concert.
The show is Friday (Dec. 16) at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena with performances by Kelsea Ballerini, Nashville’s Charles Esten, Reba McEntire, RaeLynn and the SteelDrivers. Ronnie Dunn was forced to cancel his appearance after coming down with a cold and sore throat.
Proceeds from Friday’s show will support Alzheimer’s disease and memory care research through Abe’s Garden, literacy through the Nashville Public Library Foundation, feeding the hungry through Second Harvest Food Bank and music education at the W.O. Smith Music School through Clarkson’s Fruition Fund with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
“I love Texas, so it’s hard for me to claim any other state, but I love Nashville,” Clarkson said. “Since I’ve been here over 10 years, I’ve found it’s a great community of people. The people who benefit from this show are part of your community. And they’re more likely to be helpful and better citizens if they’re more productive in a positive way than they are when they’re left behind and feel like no one cares. … I’m going to cry.”
Representatives from each organization were on hand to share how Miracle on Broadway makes a difference in their respective causes.
“We have 42 beds and 45,000 people in Nashville with this disease,” said Michael Shmerling of Abe’s Garden, an Alzheimer’s care center. “It’s not as if everybody’s going to have a chance to go to a facility like this, but by sharing the information and the lessons we’re learning in nutrition, diet and in-home care, we hope to elevate the care for everybody.”
“Over the course of its lifetime, the Nashville Public Library Foundation has raised $43 million for literacy programs,” the Nashville Public Library Foundation’s Kent Oliver said. “We know that when kids aren’t read to, up to 50 percent of kids going into kindergarten are not ready to read, which is a huge deal.”
The Second Harvest Food Bank was among the beneficiaries of Clarkson’s first Miracle on Broadway concert in 2014.
“We serve 46 counties, so that’s half of the state of Tennessee,” Second Harvest’s Jaynee Day said. “One in seven Tennesseans and one of five children in Tennessee does not know when their next meal will be coming from, and that’s critical to the success of our community. We have a variety of different programs — an emergency food box program and a mobile pantry. For every $1 that we receive, we can provide four meals. So over 400,000 meals have been provided by Kelly, her entire team and by the community.”
“The W.O. Smith Music School offers 50-cent music lessons for students who qualify for reduced and free lunch programs,” the school’s Jonah Rabinowitz said. “Instruments are also provided for free. There are more than 230 instructors who teach for free every single week. For the last 18 years, every single music student who has come through the program has graduated from high school.”
Clarkson says the night will feature a live collaboration with students from the W.O. Smith Music School, plus various other collaborations with the cast.
“I have a lot of songs to learn,” Clarkson admitted. “But I’m singing with people, and they’re singing their own stuff. We’re involving W.O. Smith in the most epic way. I love it. We’re lucky we live in a very talented community. I’m super excited about the lineup. Kelsea and RaeLynn moved their schedules to be a part of it.”
A text-to-donate campaign is in the works for the show, and there will be stations set up at the arena to collect non-perishable food items. One ton in food donations to feed the hungry in Middle Tennessee was collected at the 2014 Miracle on Broadway.
Tickets for Friday’s show are on sale now.