Frankie Ballard usually gets paid to sing, but on Thursday night (June 13) he donated his voice to belt out karaoke with some happy campers at Winners Bar in Nashville.

It was all part of Ballard’s participation in the ACM Lifting Lives program, a week-long residential series open to individuals with Williams syndrome in the U.S. and Canada. The program shares a dual purpose of studying Williams syndrome while providing music enrichment through education and performance via country music stars such as Ballard.

Ballard kicked off his karaoke session with his hit “Sunshine and Whiskey,” which he sung with camper Trevor Lloyd, who gave Ballard a stellar introduction and announced that both he and Ballard were proudly native to Michigan.

Campers cheered on Lloyd and the country star as well as other campers who took their turns singing everything from Whitney Houston to AC/DC. It had the fever pitch of a 2AM last call, but it was just six in the afternoon.

Ballard tells Taste of Country about his involvement with Lifting Lives: “Number one, it’s about the people. It’s about the campers because their passion for music is really no different than mine. It moves their spirit, it makes them wanna dance, it makes them wanna sing, it makes them feel better, it makes them forget about whatever else might be going on in their lives and that’s the same reason why I love music. I wanted to make that connection with them. It’s such a gift to be able to be a musician for my life. It’s a dream that I had when I was little and now I get to live it and if you can’t give back out of gratitude for a gift like that, then I’m afraid you’ll probably lose it, so I’ve got nothing but gratitude. This is an opportunity to give back and I jumped at the chance.”

29 campers gathered in attendance for the karaoke session and will continue their ACM Lifting Lives week with a Seacrest Studios visit on Friday (June 14), a Bluebird Cafe visit with Jessie James Decker on Saturday (June 15), a recording studio day with Ross Copperman and Tenille Townes on Monday (June 17) and a live performance with Michael Ray at the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday (June 18).

When asked what the campers may have learned from Ballard during his karaoke stint, Ballard humbly said, “I don’t know if they learned anything, except just have fun and don’t be afraid to hug each other.”

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