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High Hopes: Annual Strings & Stories event to benefit local kids

Jypsy Guterriez works on getting the ball in the target to improve her hand-eye coordination with Sarah Rayburn, occupational therapist. Photo by Carole Robinson

Tickets are still available for High Hopes’ 5th Annual Strings and Stories Songwriters Night on Saturday, Feb. 22. The event to benefit the High Hopes Inclusive Preschool and Therapeutic Clinic will be held at Green’s Grocery in Historic Leiper’s Fork. 
Beginning at 6:30 p.m. the evening features a delicious dinner by Red Pony, wine compliments of Del Rio Wine & Spirits and dessert and coffee from the Frothy Monkey. 
Tickets for the event are $150 per person, $600 for a table of four. They may be purchased online at or by calling 522-5629. 
Entertainment opens with performances by William Kellett and Tami Hinesh followed by award-winning singer/songwriters Leslie Satcher and Rivers Rutherford and Mike Loudermilk. 
According to Satcher, who has written hits for a list of artists including Kellie Pickler, Joe Diffie, Lee Ann Womack and Reba McEntire, singing at public venues “is a gift from God” because it allows her to meet people who find meaning in her songs.
Influenced early on by such legends as Elvis, Waylon Jennings, Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash, Rivers Rutherford developed a style that “crosses the line a little.” 
Coincidently, it was Cash and Jennings, along with Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, as the Highwaymen, who provided his big break when they recorded his song, “American Remains” in 1989. 
Since then Rutherford has written for Gretchen Wilson, Keith Urban and many others. His first hit came in 2001 with “Ain’t Nothin ‘Bout You,” which turned out to be Brooks and Dunn’s most successful single and earned Rutherford the ASCAP Song of the Year Award in 2002. 
Rutherford penned two more number one hits – Tim McGraw’s “Real Good Man” and Montgomery Gentry’s first number one, “If You Ever Stop Loving Me.”
With a degree in music theory and guitar, Mike Loudermilk developed a reputation as a musician’s musician on stage and in the studio. 
He has toured, recorded and written with artists such as John Schneider, Crystal Gayle, Tracy Lawrence and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.
Loudermilk’s career got a kick-start when an instrumental he wrote was recorded by the legendary Chet Atkins, who also invited the young guitar-playing, songwriter to play on the session.
High Hopes, a non-profit inclusive preschool, is the only non-profit clinic in Middle Tennessee that provides five pediatric therapies –— occupational, speech, physical, feeding and listening — under one roof. The loving environment nurtures and educates children with or without special needs from infancy through Pre-K. 
High Hopes recently moved to a new 14,400 square foot facility built entirely with the needs of the children and the staff in mind. 
“This new building will allow us to provide the best services for children and deliver our mission,” said Gail Powell, executive director. 
“This space was designed for children. It’s a joy to be here – to hear the joyful squeals of the children and see their accomplishments.”
The new facility also allows staff to more easily work and socialize together as a community, Powell said.
For information, visit  

Posted on: 2/20/2014


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