NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced today that performances by three of the world’s top country music acts will be broadcast during the prime-time MDA Labor Day Telethon on Sept. 4. The special performances were taped June 7 during their Grand Ole Opry live performances.
In addition to performing, hit-makers Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride and Darius Rucker chatted with MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Abbey Umali, the 12-year-old dynamo so instrumental in reminding business and civic leaders why it’s important to help MDA speed research seeking treatments and cures for progressive muscle diseases affecting more than a million Americans.
“We’re pleased that country music’s most famous stage was able to help create truly memorable segments for the MDA Labor Day Telethon,” said Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher. “Lady Antebellum, Martina and Darius transformed their Opry performances into must-watch television to help advance MDA’s lifesaving mission.”
“It’s been an unbelievable year for us,” said Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, the country group that recently won five Grammy Awards for its hit song, “Need You Now.” “Charles, Dave and I always have a great time performing at the Opry, and this one was extra special since it will be included in the MDA Telethon on Labor Day. It warms our hearts to be part of the nearly 50-year tradition that means the world to families living with muscular dystrophy.”
Superstar Martina McBride, who in 2004 helped fulfill a wish for a young girl with muscular dystrophy and has previously made MDA Telethon appeals, said, ”I encourage everyone to tune in to the Telethon and support the Muscular Dystrophy Association. MDA sends thousands of kids with muscular dystrophy to magical weeklong summer camps each year, funds worldwide research and maintains nearly 200 clinics to help families across the U.S. It’s important we continue to help MDA help so many others.”
Having made a special connection with Darius Rucker during the March Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, MDA’s Abbey Umali beamed when Rucker asked her to join him June 7 in singing his 2010 Billboard No. 1 single “Come Back Song.” “Abbey rocked the house on ‘Come Back Song,’” said Rucker. “I’ll long remember this duet, and I hope it will be particularly powerful for the tens of millions watching the MDA Telethon at home."
The iconic stars also taped special Telethon tune-in messages and appeals that throughout August and early September will be running frequently on more than 160 television stations comprising the MDA “Love Network,” as well as on hundreds of radio stations nationwide.
About the MDA Telethon
The 46th annual MDA Labor Day Telethon will air Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011, on more than 160 television stations. The six-hour prime-time event will feature about 20 performances by some of the biggest names in show business. Broadcast from 6 p.m. to midnight in every U.S. time zone, the show also will be streamed live online at mda.org. Co-hosts for the 2011 MDA Telethon are Nigel Lythgoe (“American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance”), Nancy O’Dell (“Entertainment Tonight”), Alison Sweeney (“The Biggest Loser” and “Days of Our Lives”) and Jann Carl (Emmy-winning journalist and independent producer).
“We’re so grateful to Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride and Darius Rucker,” said MDA Telethon Executive Producer Gerald C. Weinberg. “Their early performance contributions to our show are amazing, and we remain hopeful that even more entertainment industry icons will turn out for our exclusively prime-time Telethon.”
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education. See the award-winning MDA Make A Muscle, Make A Difference PSA.
In addition to funding more than 330 research teams worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of some 200 hospital-affiliated clinics; orchestrates hundreds of support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; facilitates extraordinary local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters fighting progressive muscle diseases. Known globally for the MDA Labor Day Telethon, the Association is the first nonprofit to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Medical Association “for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity.”