Left to right: Vera Toth-Fegel, Jazz Pharmaceuticals; Mali Einen, Stanford Center for Narcolepsy; Dave Gibson, legendary songwriter; Daisy Dern, Mercury recording artist.

WUN’s Wake Up Nashville presented some of Music City’s most acclaimed songwriters in a historic fundraising concert for narcolepsy on September 29th at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.

The event was locally supported by Saint Thomas Health in Nashville, Tennessee.  “We are proud to be part of such a special event.  Raising regional awareness about narcolepsy and the importance of sleep health is important to our wellness mission,” states Kelly Carden, MD, the event’s medical advisor.  The hospital system network wanted to play a role in bringing together an important and underserved cause with local music industry expertise.  “Everybody wins by working together—we can help those with Narcolepsy while leveraging what Nashville does best—music,” adds Carden.

Event Hosts: Bob Saporiti & Tabitha Crawford

Narcolepsy is a lifelong, disabling sleep disorder, affecting approximately one in every 2,000 people in North America which is about 200,000 Americans. Some of the history’s most influential names like Winston Churchill, Harriet Tubman and comedian Jimmy Kimmel have the neurological disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness. Upcoming and current entertainment possibilities include movies in the making with Miley Cyrus (“Wake”) and Adam Sandler (“Narco”) and MTV’s “TrueLife—I Have Narcolepsy” that all involve people with the disorder.  Before the national awareness spikes, Nashville lead the way with it’s local event.

Wake Up Nashville was a creative collaboration spearheaded by music industry legend and General Manager of Savannah Music Group, Bob Saporiti.  The former General Manager of Warner Bros. Records challenged his industry peers to participate in the fundraising event.

The Born Sisters Performing

Musical guests included: the Mulch Brothers, Nolan Neal, Lauren-Ashley (Songwriting Contest Winner), Jan Petter/Colleen McFarland (from Norway), Bobby Wood (Elvis, Garth Brooks etc.), Craig Monday, Dave Gibson/Daisy Dern (6 #1 hits, over a dozen top 40s), Mark Wayne Glasmire, and Tyler Hayes.  Songwriter Top 10 performers included: the Born Sisters, Waterfall Wash, Mike Jones, and Cameron Bedelli.

Songwriters submitted their original song entries. Publishers at Savannah Music Group reviewed each submission for its craftsmanship, lyrics, creativity and other factors.  The winners were invited to perform their original work among industry songwriters and musicians at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.  According to Saporiti, “It’s not easy for songwriters to get a fair hearing by professional music publishers. This event gives everyone a chance to be heard and at the same time raise much needed awareness and funds for a very worthy cause.”  The group received entries from across the U.S. and local students from Belmont and Vanderbilt participated.

Wake Up Nashville was distinctly different from traditional fundraisers because it offered an opportunity for both songwriters and people with narcolepsy to be heard.  It provided an informal atmosphere to allow personal connections with Music Row executives, renowned medical sleep disorder experts, and families representing those with narcolepsy.

Leaders of both Wake Up Narcolepsy and Narcolepsy Network were in attendance. Narcolepsy community members traveled from California, Texas, New York and Massachusetts to take part in this historic night.

The evening also featured a popular silent auction and delicious food and drinks. Over 180 people attended the event, raising nearly $40,000 towards finding a cure for narcolepsy.

Wake Up Nashville was one of the first major social green events to be hosted in Nashville.  Since the event, two of the songwriting contest winners have been actively engaged co-authoring new songs with Music Row’s Savannah Music Group!

A big thank you to primary sponsors: Jazz Pharmaceuticals, St. Thomas Health, Savannah Music Group, Balfour Beatty Communities,  Fussell Graphics and Wake Up Narcolepsy.

Watch Wake Up Nashville Video here: