Top songwriters, athletes to come together for "Nashville's Music Row Comes to the Ballpark" at Ed Smith Stadium

The stage is set. The spotlights turn on. The audience's murmuring dies down and all heads turn, everyone in the stands awaiting a performance that will fill them with emotion, happiness and excitement.

And the show begins!

Like sports, music evokes emotion and helps bring people together. Now the best of both worlds will come together for a special night of music at Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadium, spring training home of the Orioles.

Ed-Smith-Stadium.jpgOn Saturday, March 26, the Orioles will host "Nashville's Music Row Comes to the Ballpark," an intimate and exclusive event benefiting the Sarasota Family YMCA's Youth Programs and the Music Health Alliance.

Four highly regarded songwriters and performers will take the stage at Ed Smith Stadium in a country-style songwriter round. Songwriter Hall of Fame member and Grammy award winner Desmond Child, multiplatinum writer Bob DiPiero, country radio hit songwriter Justin Wilson and emerging Nashville newcomer Margaret Valentine will all perform at this event, which will also feature appearances by Orioles players and coaches.

"The Orioles are serving as a catalyst to bring together a vibrant group of songwriters and athletes from different corners of the entertainment world and at different stages of their pursuit of excellence - all united in a single charitable endeavor," said John Angelos, MASN's chief operating officer and Orioles executive vice president.

The event will raise funds and awareness for the Sarasota Family YMCA's Youth Programs, which serves more than 50,000 people each year. The program is designed to encourage sportsmanship, self-improvement and team building while striving to create better futures for underserved children.

Nashville's Music Row also benefits the Music Health Alliance, a nonprofit organization that provides healthcare to those in the music industry. Its mission is to "Heal the Music" by giving healthcare access to industry professionals. The Music Health Alliance provides access to life-saving medicines, surgeries and more to those who have worked in the music industry for two or more years, all for free through grants and donations. Currently, 76 percent of the music industry is self-employed or part of a small business that may not offer medical benefits.

More on the performers:

* A legendary artist, Child has a resume that includes Songwriter Hall of Fame member, Grammy awards, 70 Top 40 singles and songs that have sold more than 300 million albums worldwide. He has worked with various top artists, including Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Cher and Selena Gomez, and some of his most recognizable hits include "Livin' on a Prayer," "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' la Vida Loca."

* One of the most recognizable names in Nashville, DiPiero has 15 No. 1 hits and many other chart-toppers. He has composed more than 1,000 songs for artists including Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire and George Straight. He was nominated for both a Oscar and Golden Globe for "Best Original Song in a Motion Picture" in 2011, and was given the Country Music Association's Chairman's Award in 2014.

* One of the top up-and-coming writers in the industry, Wilson has landed more than 20 cuts and singles in a two-year span. He has landed two No. 1 hits, proving that he'll be a strong presence in Nashville for years to come.

Margaret-Valentine.jpg* Valentine, who works with Writers Loft Publishing, has been a force in the industry both writing and performing. She has opened for popular artists including Grammy Award winner Ed Sheeran, Ryan Cabrera, Eric Hutchinson and Jamie Cullum. She was also a featured performer at Nashville's 24th annual Tin Pan South Songwriter Festival and at the Carolina Country Music Fest.

"The City of Sarasota, much like its sister city of Baltimore, is home to a vibrant arts and entertainment culture," Angelos said. "Bringing world-renowned writers from Nashville's historic Music Row - the cradle of the music entertainment industry - to Sarasota is a perfect match for this inaugural charitable event."

MASN broadcaster Jim Hunter will emcee the event, which will feature a meet and greet with players and performers and a pre-show cocktail hour. Many Orioles - including pitchers Zach Britton, Mychal Givens and Dylan Bundy, and manager Buck Showalter - will be in attendance at the on-field event at Ed Smith Stadium.

This event is just one facet of the Orioles' year-round involvement and investment in Sarasota. The team also hosts an annual "Arts in the Ballpark" series that offers free and low-cost family-friendly entertainment experiences in a ballpark setting. Visit for more information. The club generates more than $81 million in economic impact annually to the greater Sarasota area.

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