Scotty McCreery was on hand to present a $1.2 million check to Nashville area school music programs Tuesday at the annual CMA Keep the Music Playing concert in Music City. The money was raised from ticket sales to the 2012 CMA Music Festival, and the concert featured performances from the students who benefit from that donation year after year. Since 2006, the Keep the Music Playing campaign has donated more than $6.5 million to Nashville Metro Public Schools' music programs.
In addition to presenting the check, Scotty also sang Garth Brooks' "The River" with the help of some students. Though he's now headlining his own tour, Scotty started out singing in school choir just like some of those students. That experience gave Scotty the chance to start developing his performance skills.
He says, "I remember talent day we had for choir one time in elementary school, I brought my guitar in and played 'em an Elvis song I think. So, we did little stuff like that."
Scotty adds, "I was in school music my entire life. Started in elementary school, middle school, high school. That was definitely a huge part in my musical background and my foundation and everything."
While growing up in Garner, NC, Scotty heard about debates over whether or not to cut funding for school music programs. He's glad the money from the CMA Music Festival can help schools around Nashville avoid that problem.
"It's great for an event like this to be supplementing that or helping that out," Scotty says. "It'd be huge, especially those kids growing up that want to play those instruments and are trying to learn, but may not have the resources. This is great for that."
Scotty looks forward to playing the CMA Music Festival again this June. He's also in the studio working on brand-new music. A new single is expected out pretty soon.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio