On July 23 Keith Urban, three-time GRAMMY winner and one of country music's most successful and influential artists, headlined the GRAMMY Foundation's signature benefit Starry Night concert at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Rising folk/rock stars the Avett Brothers opened the benefit.
The event was presented in association with the Farmers Classic tennis tournament presented by Mercedes-Benz, and was held three nights prior to the tournament's opening. Starry Night benefitted the GRAMMY Foundation's GRAMMY in the Schools music education programs for high school students and the Southern California Tennis Association's foundation.
As part of Urban's sold-out, two-hour concert, six GRAMMY Camp participants were called up to the stage to perform with Urban on his No. 1 hit "Days Go By." Katie Gavin of Winnetka, Ill., Savannah Meares of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Brenna Miles of La Canada Flintridge, Calif., sang background vocals; India Pascucci of Burbank, Calif., played drums; and guitarist Kristen Castro of Simi Valley, Calif. and violinist Kevin Schwarzwald of Pacific Palisades, Calif., were both featured with solos during the song.
"Keith Urban's career is defined by both exceptional musicianship and extraordinary generosity," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. "And it is meaningful and moving that Keith lent his time and talents during the busy summer touring season in support of the GRAMMY Foundation and our GRAMMY in the Schools music education programs. We offer young people real-world experiences in the music industry and it doesn't get any more 'real' than having our GRAMMY Campers perform before a packed audience with Keith Urban. We were also delighted to have the Avett Brothers showcase their unique and powerful music at our Starry Night benefit."
The GRAMMY Camp participants first met Urban onstage prior to the concert during his afternoon soundcheck, when he and his band worked with the campers to put the finishing touches on their performance. "Having those kids onstage with us on Friday really serves as a reminder of what is possible when you're lucky enough to find your passion," said Urban. "I was so impressed by their talent and their obvious love for playing."
"The Farmers Classic was again delighted to collaborate with the GRAMMY Foundation to help raise funds for this worthy charity," said Bob Kramer, Farmers Classic tournament director. "The Southern California Tennis Association and UCLA are extremely proud to be involved with such important causes and to provide a lively and entertaining kickoff for the 84th annual Farmers Classic at UCLA."
Organized under the banner GRAMMY in the Schools, the GRAMMY Foundation's education programs include GRAMMY Camp — held this year from July 10–19 at USC — as well as the GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles, GRAMMY Career Day, GRAMMY Signature Schools, and GRAMMY SoundChecks. This year Urban served as GRAMMY Camp's honorary dean to affirm his commitment to the GRAMMY Foundation's music education programs.