The second annual Dance Party to End Alz was held on Sunday, June 3 at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon.
Hosted by Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Blair Garner, the sold-out event raised more than $340,000 for Alzheimer’s Association care, support and research programs.
Country stars performed their favorite hits from the ‘80s while dressed in colorful and classic fashion from that decade. Performances included Brad Paisley’s spin on ‘80s classics “Boys of Summer” and “Hot for Teacher”; Chris Young’s funky “You Dropped a Bomb on Me”; surprise guest Darius Rucker was joined by Brad Paisley on “Purple Rain”; Charles Esten's rocking “With or Without You,”; Chase Bryant’s “Superstition” and “Dirty Diana,”; Ashley Campbell’s fun take on “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”; Jamie O’Neal’s big voiced version of “Flashdance”; Lindsay Ell channeling her inner rocker on “Another One Bites the Dust,”; Emily West’s take on favorite “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”; High Valley’s Wang Chung ’80’s anthem, “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”; and the ’80s country hit, “Mountain Music”; performed by Radio Romance.
Country newcomer Jay Allen shared his very personal story about his mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis before performing “Blank Stares,” a song inspired by her.
Accompanied throughout the evening by the Matte Gray Band, all artists took the stage for the group finale, a rousing take on “Thriller.”
During the program, host Kimberly Williams-Paisley was joined on stage by her friend, Academy Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden. Both women have chronicled the stories of their mothers’ lives after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in best-selling books and they shared touching thoughts with the audience about the urgent need to support the Alzheimer’s Association to change the course of this disease for the millions affected.
“I’m here tonight because of my mom who had Alzheimer’s and my entire family who went through the experience with her. We lost my mom in 2016 and since then I’ve connected with so many people affected by this disease,” Kimberly Williams-Paisley shared. “Unfortunately, people with Alzheimer’s and those around them feel the stigma associated with this disease, and that keeps people from having important conversations and sharing their story to bring Alzheimer’s and other dementias out of the shadows. Together, all of us here in this room – each and every one of us – we are changing the world by imagining a world without Alzheimer’s disease and by supporting the Alzheimer’s Association.”
The evening also included a silent auction of exclusive experience packages including tickets and passes to a taping of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” an LA Dodgers experience with batting practice passes, tickets and signed items from Clayton Kershaw, a VIP “Star Trek” movie screening with a William Shatner meet and greet, Brad Paisley tickets and meet and greet passes and tickets to an Eagles concert along with a guitar signed by all members of the group.
The event was led by a volunteer committee of Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Blair and Eric Garner, and John Shomby, and supported by generous sponsors Tracie & Scott Hamilton, Mikey & Jay Hoag, Brad Paisley & Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Dr. Stephaine J. Buffaloe, Lou & Darcy Holland, Jr., Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., Chris & Karen Segal, Sleep Number, Country Music Association, Crown Media Family Networks, Fender Play, The Fitzgerald Hartley Co., CBRE, Sony Music and The Wallash Family. All proceeds raised through the Nashville Dance Party to End Alz support Alzheimer’s Association research programs.