Music programs are often the first casualties when education budgets get tight. But Early Show correspondent Tracy Smith found a youth chorus in Nashville, Tenn., that refuses to let the money crunch silence them. For the Met Singers Youth Chorus, music and their singing means the world
"Singing is just, like, my everything," 12-year-old Tyler says. "And without that, I wouldn't be the person that I am today.
Jordan, 17, adds, "This choir is very, very important in everybody's life, and should stay around here forever because it's done a whole lot for me. And I know it could do a whole lot more for other generations and stuff."
And that is exactly why director Margaret Cambelle-Holman and a group of parents are fighting to keep the chorus alive
Holman says, "They are in a healthy wholesome situation, and to continue to grow in a way that makes them a better person down the road."
But they need money to do that. And just this month, the Met Singers established a non-profit organization and started fundraising so that kids like 11-year-old Kira could fulfill her dreams.
The little blind girl says, "If I didn't know how to sing, it wouldn't be likely for me to become a singer when I grow up."
And, according to 13-year-old Tomy, that is what helps the world go around.
He says, "If we didn't have every different kind of music, the world would be a sad place."
The Met Singers hope to keep bringing joy instead.
On Friday, they sang for The Early Show an excerpt from "Duond Akuru" in Duoluo, a language spoken by the Luo people of Kenya. They were told they were invited to the show to be part of a series on after-school programs.
But, of course, that was not the reason. Denise Miller, Taylor and Althea's mom, wrote a letter to the Week of Wishes.
Denise Miller reads a portion from her letter:
"I would like to make a Wish for our children," she says. "The Met Singer Youth Chorus was established eight years ago under Metro Public Schools Community Education. The teachers involved donate their time, talents, and money to support this program. Children involved in a music program seem to excel in school.
"I am proud to say that last year there were 10 seniors who received full scholarships to four-year colleges. These are children who probably would not have attended college. We need to support these children not only in Nashville, but in any city."
So Mike Edwards from First Tennessee Bank had something for them: "First Tennessee supports local community enterprises and is proud to (help) Met Singers' new non-profit get started with a $10,000 check." He added that he was sorry he couldn't sing a little song for the kids
No worries. The Early Show knows someone who can carry a tune: Lee Ann Womack, whose new album, "There's More Where That Came From," was recently released and is getting rave reviews.
"I am so proud of you for working so hard," Womack told the youngsters, "and we share a love of music. I think that's really, really cool and, in fact, I think you guys have worked so hard, I think you deserve an award."
Womack not only ecouraged the kids, but she also introduced them to her friend, Tree Paine, from the Academy of Country Music.
Paine gladly offered them a special invitation to attend the Academy of Country Music Awards on May 17 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Of course, they have to get to Las Vegas somehow. So Tracy Smith introduced the singing group to Brandy King with Southwest Airlines.
"Southwest Airlines is honored to fly all of you and your chaperones roundtrip to Las Vegas," he said and presented an oversized boarding pass.
And since they will also need a place to stay, Las Vegas's castle-like the Excalibur Hotel is going to accommodate them and provide a meal and transportation to and from the airport.
Smith had to ask the kids to keep it down several times, as they were jumping up and down screaming in delight - clearly surprised.