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Uncle Kracker 'Saves The Music'

Uncle Kracker,right, performs in Detroit, in this April 12, 2001 photo
AP
Since 1997, VH1's "Save the Music" program has worked to restore music education in public schools nationwide. So far, the program has put instruments in the hands of more than half a million children.

And starting June 9, The Early Show is kicking off its annual instrument drive with VH1 featuring special performances. On the drive's opening day, Uncle Kracker sang his chart-topping rendition of the 1973 pop soul classic, "Drift Away."

Uncle Kracker first gained notoriety as the DJ for Kid Rock's Twisted Brown Trucker Band. He has since recorded two albums of his own including his current CD, "No Stranger to Shame," which is rapidly moving up the Top 40 Chart and is currently No.7

His rendition of Dobie Gray's classic, "Drift Away" features Gray and is currently No.1 on the Adult Contemporary Mainstream Radio chart after successfully knocking Santana and Michele Branch out of that spot.

The Detroit native knows how important it is to Save the Music. He says, "I look at music like a soundtrack to people's lives. Music does a lot for people. It helps you when you're down. Does a lot of things."

So besides performing on The Early Show, he donated a platinum plaque to VH1 "Save The Music" to be auctioned on e-Bay.

Why The Need

Recent budget cuts have put many music education programs at risk. From Providence to Portland, communities have reduced or eliminated public school music programs. This is occurring in spite of the growing body of research that documents the benefits of music education and some overwhelming public support. An astounding 95 percent of Americans believe that music is a key component in a child's well-rounded education, accoridng to a 2003 Gallup Survey.

What You Can Do

If you want to help keep music in your local schools, here's what you can do:
Donate an instrument - If you live in New York City, bring your instrument to The Early Show Plaza at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, but there also are drop-off locations all around the country.

Bid on great stuff - Go to eBay where celebrities have donated various items. All proceeds go to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.

Donate Money – Go to vh1savethemusic.com to make a cash contribution. Donations will be used to purchase new instrument.

Support your local programs – Help support public school music programs in your community. Visit the VH1 Save The Music Web site for tools and materials or go to supportmusic.com.

The VH1 Save The Music Foundation purchases new musical instruments to restore music education programs that have been cut because of budget reductions in the past or to save programs at risk of elimination due to lack of instruments. Christina Norman, general manager of VH1 Networks, says since its inception, Save The Music has restored music programs in more than 1000 schools benefiting half a million children across the country.

C.G. Conn, the oldest band instrument brand in the U.S., is one of the companies participating in the program. The company's marketing manager Rick DeJonge visited The Early Show on June 9 as well to show one of the $300 trumpets that C.G. Conn is donating to the drive. The company is donating $50,000 worth of instruments this year.