|Auction host Big Kenny from Big & Rich puts his auctioning skills to the test with the Willie Nelson-signed showcase guitar
|Some of the signed showcase guitars on display in the BMI lobby
Country singer Keni Thomas kicked off the evening with an acoustic performance and the action went live around the world via online bidding and a live three-hour television broadcast. Gibson Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz welcomed everyone with a short overview of the project from the stage and BMI's Paul Corbin thanked everyone for coming to the event. Emcee Billy Block kept the crowds warmed up and ready to bid throughout the night.
|Some of GuitarTown's 10-foot tall guitar sculptures on display in front of the BMI building
Among the guitar sculptures auctioned off were Dolly Parton's BMI-sponsored "Flutter" guitar, which fetched an impressive $4,200.00, and the Charlie Daniels Band's "Let Freedom Sing" guitar, which went for a whopping $15,600.00.
In addition to hosts Big & Rich, the sold-out evening saw arrivals from musical greats Vince Gill, Tanya Tucker, Lee Roy Parnell, Whisperin' Bill Anderson, Steve Cropper, Brenda Lee, Chely Wright, Jamie O'Neal, Keni Thomas, Disney recording artists Everlife, Jace Everett, Little Texas, Tracy Lawrence, the Muzik Mafia and Richard Marx.
Nashville's GuitarTown Gala Auction event was the climax of the year-long GuitarTown arts project, which featured 10-foot Gibson guitar sculptures and showcase guitars displayed around Nashville. The project has gained worldwide recognition and has been covered from every corner of the globe. The money raised at the gala will go to help four local charities: The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Nashville's United Way and the Downtown District.