Award-winning Nashville songwriters and musicians joined with Orioles athletes March 1-3 in Sarasota, Fla., to support arts education and girls empowerment during the fourth annual "Athletes & Artists Play for Kids" weekend. Held at Ed Smith Stadium, the Orioles' Florida training complex, the weekend featured a "Nashville's Music Row Comes to the Ballpark" charity benefit, two Orioles Spring Training games, an artist workshop for local youth, and an on-field performance from Country music rising superstar and 11-time No. 1 singer/songwriter COLE SWINDELL.
A portion of proceeds from the weekend's events will fund the establishment of new Orioles Charitable Foundation Music & Arts Education Scholarships to support arts education for deserving young students in Sarasota, Baltimore, and Nashville.
"It was an incredible weekend celebrating the power of song and sport to inspire and bring people together," said Orioles Executive Vice President JOHN ANGELOS. "We were thrilled to see music fans enjoy the creativity of award-winning Nashville artists as we raised funds to support new arts education scholarships for deserving students."
The series of events began Friday, March 1, when the Orioles hosted the Tampa Bay Rays. Later that evening, charitable donors returned to the club's training complex at Ed Smith Stadium for a one-of-a-kind, all-access event bringing Orioles players and Nashville songwriters and artists together for the fourth annual "Nashville's Music Row Comes to the Ballpark" charity benefit. Performed in the format made famous in the hit television show Nashville, the evening was hosted by Pound It Out LOUD Ent's MARGARET VALENTINE and headlined by Songwriter Hall of Fame writer, Nashville legend, and Grammy award winner DESMOND CHILD; Nashville Songwriter of the Year MATT McGINN; singer-songwriter RYAN BEAVER; musician MacKENZIE PORTER; and other special guests.
Saturday evening, the Orioles hosted "Cole Swindell's Party in the Outfield," an on-field concert at the ballpark. Thousands of fans danced and swayed under the stars as Swindell performed favorites like "Love You Too Late" and "Sounded Good Last Night." Special guests MacKENZIE PORTER and CARTER FAITH opened for Swindell.
The Orioles wrapped up the 2019 "Athletes & Artists Play for Kids" weekend with Sunday's game against the Detroit Tigers. Pre-game ceremonies included members of Girls Inc., a Sarasota non-profit organization, performing the song "Better Life" and the national anthem. The central goal of Girls Inc. is to empower and inspire girls and young women.
Meet the Artists
Cole Swindell, a Platinum-selling recording artist and 11-time No 1 singer/songwriter, released his third album, "All of It," for Warner Bros. Records/Warner Music Nashville in 2018 and it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country album chart and No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200. The first single "Break Up In The End" became his eighth No. 1 career single as a solo artist. "Break Up In The End" was recently nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Song and was named one of the best country songs of 2018 by Amazon, Spotify, Billboard, and You Tube among others. Swindell performed the hit single on last summer's (2018) ABC Television special "CMA Fest" and when he headlined the "NBC's Citi Concert Series on TODAY" (2018).
The Georgia native debuted his current single "Love You Too Late" LIVE on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" and in December performed it on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" The song is included on YouTube's Best Country Songs of 2018.
In just over four years since he made his debut on Warner Bros. Records, Swindell has racked up an impressive and incomparable record-breaking eight No. 1 singles (the only solo artist in the history of the Country Aircheck/Mediabase to top the charts with first seven singles); 10 No. 1 singles as a songwriter; one 1 billion+ audience reaching single ("You Should Be Here"), seven Platinum singles; one Gold single; a Platinum-certified debut album ("Cole Swindell"); a Gold-certified sophomore album ("You Should Be Here") and over one billion on demand streams as well as numerous songwriting honors and awards including being the reigning NSAI Songwriter/Artist of the Year (2016), winning two CMA Triple Play Awards in both 2015 (as the only performer to claim the title) and again in 2016 (for penning three No. 1 songs in a 12 month span) and Music Row's Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year during his debut (2015) with celebrated songwriting credits for not only his own seven No. 1 hits but songs for Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line.
With her first new music since 2015, MacKenzie Porter presents a pair of no nonsense, hook-laden tracks that are timely and timeless. Released on Big Loud Records, "About You" and "Drive Thru" -- produced by Joey Moi (Florida Georgia Line, Dallas Smith, Jake Owen) -- showcase the Nashville-based, Canadian born singer/songwriter's substantial chops as a vocalist and songwriter as never before. In her late teens, Porter fell deeply in love with songwriting and recording her own material and, in 2013, released her self-titled debut album. Over the next three years she garnered nominations for prestigious Canadian music awards including the 2015 JUNO for Country Album of the Year and the CCMA Award for Female Artist of the Year three years running. Over time she has also toured extensively on her own and in support of artists such as Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, and Blake Shelton. Additionally, in 2016, Porter was featured on Chris Lane's "Circles" from his Top 10 US Country record, Girl Troubles. Since making the move to Nashville in 2014, Porter has continued to develop her chops as a songwriter with a variety of A-list talents including Nicolle Galyon, Craig Wiseman, Natalie Hemby, Tom Douglas, and others.
Carter Faith is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter from Davidson, NC. She is currently attending Belmont University as part of their renowned Songwriting program. So far in her freshman year, Carter Faith has been selected to partake in some of the most prestigious emerging artist showcases in Nashville, including the ASCAP Belmont Songwriters Showcase and Song Suffragettes. She started performing live at age 12 and started writing original songs at 16. She was a featured performer in Charlotte's televised 2016 Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 2017, Carter Faith attended the highly selective GRAMMY Camp in Nashville and also performed some of her songs at the iconic Bluebird Café and Douglas Corner Cafe.
GRAMMY Award-winning and Emmy-nominated songwriter/producer Desmond Child is one of music's most accomplished hit-makers. He is also a film and television producer, recording artist, performer, author, and motivational speaker. His credits appear on more than eighty Billboard Top 40 singles spanning five decades, including "Livin' On A Prayer," "You Give Love A Bad Name," "I Was Made For Lovin' You," "Dude Looks Like A Lady," "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Waking Up In Vegas," and many more. From Aerosmith to Zedd, his genre-defying collaborations include Bon Jovi, KISS, Cher, Joan Jett, Michael Bolton, Cyndi Lauper, Ricky Martin, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, Meat Loaf, Christina Aguilera, Sia, Mickey Mouse, and Kermit the Frog, selling over 500 million records worldwide with downloads, YouTube views, and streaming plays in the billions. Child was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008 and serves on its Board of Directors as well as the Board of ASCAP. In 2018, he received ASCAP's prestigious Founders Award celebrating 40 years as a proud member of ASCAP. Along with songwriter-producer Rudy Pérez he co-founded the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame where he is Chairman/CEO.
Matt McGinn is a Nashville-based multi-platinum songwriter and producer with award-winning music publishing powerhouse, SMACKSongs. The Virginia native has had songs recorded by Kane Brown, Florida Georgia Line, Walker Hayes, Jake Owen, Carly Pearce, Michael Ray, Cassadee Pope, and more. McGinn celebrated his first No.1 in 2017 with Kane Brown's 4x Platinum hit, "What Ifs" ft. Lauren Alaina, which spent five consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart. He recently earned his second No.1 with Kane Brown's, 4x Platinum two-week chart topper, "Heaven." McGinn was recently named the SESAC Nashville Awards' Songwriter of the Year.
Ryan Beaver is a country singer/songwriter signed to SMACKSongs and BMI. The Texas native moved to Nashville in 2013 to continue pursuing his songwriting and artist career. His latest album, Rx, was critically acclaimed for its "visceral emotional work" (NPR) and Beaver has been heralded as an "Artist You Need to Know" by Rolling Stone. Beaver is currently in studio working on his forthcoming album.
Margaret Valentine is a songwriter at Dreamlined Entertainment Group, a Nashville-based production, publishing, and record company founded by GRAMMY Award-winning Producer Keith Stegall. In 2018, she founded Pound It Out Loud, a music management company that has curated talent for events including the Orioles' "Friday Fireworks and Music at America's Ballpark" series. Valentine has been writing in Nashville since 2014 and has opened for national touring artists including GRAMMY Award-winner Ed Sheeran, as well as Ryan Cabrera, Jamie Cullum, and Eric Hutchinson. In 2016, Valentine and Jenae Cherry co-wrote and recorded "Don't Miss The Magic," a song which served as an anthem for the 2016 Baltimore Orioles' season. Through a partnership with the Orioles Charitable Foundation, more than 20,000 digital downloads, streams, and views of the song raised $65,000 for Shannon's Fund, a nonprofit program which assists cancer patients and their families at the University of Maryland Medical Center. In 2015, Valentine created the "Nashville Comes to the Ballpark" charity event which has raised over $200k to benefit local charities in Baltimore, Nashville and Sarasota.
Nashville's Music Row Come to the Ballpark is part of the Orioles' Arts in the Ballpark event series and Sarasota 365, a host of initiatives through which the Baltimore Orioles and OriolesREACH demonstrate the ballclub's year-round engagement with the Greater Sarasota community. A recent independent analysis commissioned by Sarasota County Government concluded that the Orioles generate approximately $89 million in annual economic impact back to taxpayers and residents. By marketing Sarasota to fans in the Mid-Atlantic region, operating a year-round athletic training facility, producing entertainment and sporting events, partnering with charitable causes, and hosting and often subsidizing youth sports tournaments and activities, the Orioles demonstrate an abiding commitment to their Florida home that goes far beyond baseball. For more information, visit www.orioles.com/Sarasota.