Award-winning singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Hunter Hayes performed last evening at the Family’s Picnic in the Park at Grand Park LA for a private reception in support of the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event this year – the 2015 Special Olympics World Games (LA2015). The talented musician is the youngest male act ever to top the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and has made waves in the music industry with the innovative streaming and digital release of his new single, “21,” which has already logged nearly 15 million streams and counting.
“It was an honor to support such a fantastic cause and get to perform for all of these athletes and their families,” said Hayes. “I had the opportunity to meet the ACM Lifting Lives music campers earlier this summer, and it reminded me how pure and powerful music can be. Being part of this event tonight and getting to perform with them again was an experience I won’t forget.”
ACM® Lifting Lives®, the Academy of Country Music’s charitable arm, partnered with the 2015 Special Olympics World Games to provide entertainment for the private reception. The 10 music campers were participants from ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp, a weeklong residential program held each year in Nashville, TN that is open to musically talented individuals with Williams Syndrome from around the country. The camp is a partnership between ACM Lifting Lives and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. The performance created a special moment for Hayes, the campers and the Special Olympics athletes’ families showcasing what ACM Lifting Lives and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center are doing to improve lives through the power of music.
“The families of these athletes play a vital role in the Special Olympics World Games, and ACM Lifting Lives is honored to partner with the Special Olympics to bring Hunter Hayes and our ACM Lifting Lives Music Campers in for a unique performance to thank them. These campers demonstrate how they thrive with developmental disabilities, and how it is absolutely possible to improve lives through the power of music, which is our mission,” said ACM Lifting Lives Manager, Hannah Martin.
The private reception took place on Tuesday, July 28 from 6 – 9 p.m. PT in downtown Los Angeles at Grand Park, and was presented by the County of Los Angeles in conjunction with the Santa Monica Famers Market. Paired together with 11 celebrated California chefs, California farmers donated their time and talents to prepare thousands of meals for athletes and their families. A distinguishing characteristic of the Special Olympics World Games is the Families Program, which honors the family members of the competing athletes to recognize their support, encouragement, dedication and sacrifice in helping athletes reach the pinnacle of competition in the 2015 World Games.
On July 25, nearly 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches representing 165 countries were welcomed at the Opening Ceremony, held at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the site of the Opening Ceremonies for both the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympic Games. More than 62,000 fans including world leaders and other distinguished personalities supported athletes inside the venue, while a global audience watched coverage provided by ESPN, the official broadcast partner of the World Games.
The World Games are being held in Los Angeles for nine days from July 25-Aug. 2 and feature 25 Olympic-type sports: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Cycling, Equestrian, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Half Marathon, Handball, Judo, Kayaking, Open Water Swimming, Powerlifting, Roller Skating, Sailing, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball, and Beach Volleyball. These Games showcase the unlimited potential of people with intellectual disabilities – one of the largest disability populations in the world.
To learn more about the LA2015 World Games, visit www.LA2015.org.