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Home > News Briefs > I Wanna Play! Benefit Album

Huckabee launches all-star I Wanna Play! album to benefit school music programs

Artist lineup includes Aaron Tippin, Lorrie Morgan, Neil Sedaka and Ronnie Milsap

CARLSBAD, CA, October 25, 2010 — Former Arkansas Governor and part-time bass guitar player Mike Huckabee recently launched a new benefit album called I Wanna Play!: An Album to Put Musical Instruments into the Hands of Every Child in America on his weekly news commentary show.

Gov. Mike Huckabee and artist Aaron Tippin played key roles in creating I Wanna Play! Platinum recording artist and songwriter Aaron Tippin and producer James Stroud led the charge on this project at Gov. Huckabee's suggestion.

They jointly selected the impressive list of participants, including Aaron Tippin ("I Wanna Play" written by Aaron and Thea Tippin), Lorrie Morgan ("You Are So Beautiful"), John Anderson ("Swingin'"), George Jones ("Amazing Grace"), Neil Sedaka ("Laughter In The Rain"), Ray Price ("Danny Boy"), Ronnie Milsap ("Honky Tonk Women"), Darryl Worley ("Katie's Song"), Louise Mandrell ("I Can't Stop Loving You") and Tracy Lawrence ("Fightin' Side Of Me"). The songs and artists reflect a varied tapestry of creative influences to highlight the importance of making music. The CD is now available on iTunes and or by calling toll-free (888) 499-4996.

Proceeds benefit the Wanna Play Fund
This is a labor of love that is a continuation of Gov. Huckabee's support of the efforts of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation's Wanna Play Fund, which provides musical instruments to schools and other music programs across the country, allowing many who otherwise couldn't afford instruments to enjoy the fun and proven benefits of playing music.

The NAMM Foundation's Wanna Play Fund stems from a national public awareness campaign called Wanna Play?, created by NAMM to educate people of all ages about the many social and wellness benefits of making music. Wanna Play? endorsers include actors, authors, musicians, sports figures, executives, politicians and personalities who play a musical instrument. More than 100 celebrities currently support the campaign, including Gary Sinise, Jack Black, Isaac Slade, Sara Bareilles, Robert Downey, Jr., and John Legend.

I Wanna Play! CD Cover "Aaron Tippin's cornerstone song 'I Wanna Play' will hopefully become a tune that is not only heard by millions, but helps place instruments in the hands of children," said Gov. Huckabee. "Music changed my life when I got my first guitar at age 11 and it's been changing my life ever since. I still play and have more fun doing it now than ever before. I'm confident that people will love the variety and the quality of the music on the CD, but this gift of music is two-fold; folks will also know that with every purchase, 100 percent of the profits will go directly to providing musical instruments to students."

"I Wanna Play" is an original song written by Aaron and Thea Tippin, featuring Mike Huckabee on bass and a special vocal appearance by the children from W.O. Smith Nashville Community School. Huckabee continued, "This album was truly an experience of a lifetime; we have such talent associated with the CD—including major music legends—it's a dream come true for me to be part of this and the proceeds from it will help to make dreams come true for young hopefuls."

The power of music
Tippin echoed Huckabee's sentiments, "Since this project was in its infancy, Gov. Huckabee, myself and my good friend James Stroud have had the same goal: to shine a light on the need for music education and do our part to get children excited about music from an early age," he said. "Music, whether playing an instrument or singing in church, opens the doors to creativity, self-expression and confidence—all of which are vital elements in health, behavior and social circles for children and adults. I get to see the impact of my music, whether it be from the smiling faces in the audience in front of me, or a letter written from a soldier. The NAMM Foundation's objective of improving the quality of music education in America's public schools and raising public awareness surrounding the importance of music education for our nation's youth is a standard that I'm proud to support."

"Research shows conclusively that kids who play music and sing do better in school and in life," said NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond. "We are so grateful to Gov. Huckabee, Aaron Tippin, James Stroud and the host of amazing artists who made this project possible." He continued, "Kids that are either troubled, or merely not enamored with school studies, often light up over a musical instrument. There is transforming power in music—from improving academic performance in math and other disciplines to providing a positive alternative to mischief."

Research shows that playing benefits children and teens in a variety of ways. Picking up an instrument positively affects the development of children's cognitive skills, builds confidence, self-discipline and inspires creativity. Playing music can help to increase productivity and help kids and teens connect socially with their peers. Music education is vital for children to reach their full academic and social potential.

I Wanna Play!: An Album To Put Musical Instruments Into The Hands Of Every Child In America project is the result of collaboration involving some of the biggest names in the music business, the Victory College Foundation and the NAMM Foundation. The CD is now available on iTunes and or by calling toll-free (888) 499-4996.

The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission of advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, visit

Text and images courtesy of The NAMM Foundation.

Copyright 2010 All rights reserved. This material may not be published or redistributed without permission.

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