LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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 Farmers 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.
California chefs Suzanne Goin (Lucques, AOC, Tavern), Neal Fraser (Redbird, BLD, ICDC, Fritzi Dog), Susan Feniger (Border Grill), Brian Dunsmoor (The Hatchet Hall), Bruce Kalman (Union), Sal Marino (Il Grano), Nick Shipp (Upper West), Tim Kilcoyne (Scratch), Corina Weibel (Canele), Valerie Gordon (Valerie Confections) and Jason Prendergast (Tender Greens), were paired with California farmers including Weiser Family Farm, McGrath Family Farms, Tamai Farms, Tutti Frutti Farm, Coleman Family Farm, Windrose Farm, J.J.’s Lone Daughter Ranch, Drake Family Farm, Roan Mills, Peter Schaner Farm and Valdivia Farm to offer tastes of California’s best seasonal produce.
Also, in a first-time collaboration, LA Kitchen and its Empower LA Initiative used donated produce collected by Food Forward, the local non-profit produce recovery organization that gleans produce from farmers markets, backyards, and the wholesale produce market, to prepare a summer fruit salad for the 5,000 guests. The reception featured a picnic style boxed meal to add to the “Picnic in the Park” feel. To sweeten the experience, Sprinkles Cupcakes contributed more than 2,000 cupcakes to the event and local favorite Mabel’s provided samples of their famous chicken and waffles.
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.
About the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015)
With 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches representing 165 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games - being staged in Los Angeles July 25 - August 2, 2015 - will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 62,000 spectators. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org and on social with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.4 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 94,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics, fb.com/specialolympics, youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.
About ACM Lifting Lives®
ACM Lifting Lives® is the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Country Music dedicated to improving lives through the power of music. Through partnerships with artists and strong ties in the music industry, ACM Lifting Lives develops and funds music-related therapy and education programs, and serves members of the community who face unexpected hardships through its Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund. Through generous donations and the support of artists and fans, ACM Lifting Lives is able to fund everything from disaster relief and helping communities in need, to music education in schools and music camps for those with disabilities, to supporting programs that use music therapy as a means to help our veterans and wounded warriors, while providing grants to help them ease back into life. For more information, please visit www.ACMLiftingLives.org.