We Are Nashville is an annual music festival for Nashville area vocal and instrumental programs that takes place in March, during Music in Our Schools Month. Music programs are invited for a “Day of Music,” which was housed this year at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville.
“My heart behind the event is to expose students and young aspiring musicians to the array of opportunities that exist in music,” says Bryson Finney, the festival’s artistic director, coordinator and co-founder. “Providing this enriching platform for students can be life-changing. I believe a dream needs three essential steps to grow: 1) exposure (see the artistry), 2) identification (workshop opportunities/learning experiences) and 3) action (joint performance opportunities). This not only plants seeds but also builds our city’s artistic community.”
Finney spent the first nine years of his career as a general music, piano and choir instructor at an elementary school. After earning his master’s degree, Finney embraced music tech and digital music composition and became a Metro Nashville Public Schools learning technology instructional coach. He led district-wide professional development opportunities supporting technology integration. He also worked with the Nashville Symphony as the Accelerando Program coordinator, equipping students from diverse ethinic backgrounds for careers in music.
During the pandemic, Finney worked with the CMA Foundation’s United Voices for Music Education Initiative and collaborated with music educators nationwide, collecting innovative ideas for the music classroom.
Finney returned to Metro Nashville Public School as a Learning Technology Specialist and works with educators to integrate district-approved digital tools and applications into instruction. “Most of my school-based work happens with our elementary schools and involves consultations with school leadership, school-wide/grade-level trainings, co-teaching and modeling,” he says.
The We Are Nashville Festival clearly holds a special place in Finney’s heart. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for exposure, education and engagement with student ensembles and local artists,” he says. In 2020,