Nashville, Tennessee, November 18, 2004 - Brooks & Dunn, the Country Music Association’s Vocal Duo of the Year, performed their greatest hits for nearly two hours as headliners of the first-ever Stars & Guitars charity concert, held at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt on Friday, November 12, 2004. Stars & Guitars raised over $75,000 for the T.J. Martell Foundation.

The event, which was hosted by Gary Chapman, began with the introduction of a special CMT-produced documentary by the network’s executive vice president, Brian Philips. The video highlighted the life and work of Katie Darnell. Darnell was an extraordinary young songwriter who befriended Big & Rich and Wynonna while receiving cancer treatment at Vanderbilt.


L to R: Kix Brooks, Emily Nelson, Dave Berryman and Ronnie Dunn.

Following the poignant documentary, Dave Berryman, president of Gibson Guitar Corporation, was joined on stage by Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn to present a custom-made Epiphone electric guitar to Emily Nelson. Nelson, a seven-year-old family member of a Children’s Hospital patient, drew the original star for placement on the guitar’s body. Her design was reproduced on the 200 limited edition Epiphone guitars, specially produced for Stars & Guitars and individually signed by Brooks & Dunn. Guitars were offered as gifts by Gibson to each Stars & Guitars patron, acknowledging of their contributions to the Martell Foundation.


A sea of custom-designed and autographed Epiphones await each guest.

Throughout the concert portion of the evening, Muzik Mafia painter, Rachel Kice, worked alongside Brooks & Dunn, transferring the high-energy of their performance onto canvas. As Brooks & Dunn favorites like Neon Moon, Only in America and Boot Scootin' Boogie flowed through the intimate performance venue, Kice completed her painting, which was auctioned at the end of the evening.

In the spirit of the event, Kix Brooks removed the cowboy hat from his head, stating that he “wore the same hat as host of this year’s CMA Awards,” and he sold it to the highest bidder. Brook’s hat was purchased by an event patron and was immediately given to young painter, Emily Nelson.

The T.J. Martell Foundation was founded in 1975 by music industry executive Tony Martell and his colleagues after leukemia claimed the life of Tony’s son, T.J. The Foundation has raised more than $175 million to fund research for the innovative cures and treatments of leukemia, cancer and AIDS at nine research facilities throughout the United States. Locally, the T.J. Martell Foundation supports the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

Ed Note: See related story here.

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