AZA News Releases

Country Musicians Hold First-Ever Virtual Benefit Concert to Help AZA-Accredited Zoos and Aquariums

 Viewers across North America tune in to the inaugural concert to raise needed funds.

Silver Spring, Md. (April 1, 2021) – Last night, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) hosted a virtual benefit concert – “ALL TOGETHER FOR ANIMALS.” This all-star benefit concert featured streamed original performances from Brad Paisley, Old Dominion, Ashley McBryde, Riley Green, Jessie James Decker, Shy Carter, and Wynonna. The event was emceed by Cody Alan, host of Country Music Television’s Hot 20 Countdown and of iHeartRadio’s CMT After Midnite and CMT Radio Live.

The program, produced by Contemporary Productions in St. Louis, Mo., built awareness of the financial impact AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, raising funds for almost 150 facilities.

“AZA-accredited facilities have lost upwards of 2 billion dollars due to the pandemic. That is lost revenue they cannot replace, but last night’s concert will help to restore some of those lost funds,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA. “Nearly 150 accredited zoos and aquariums benefited from the concert, raising much-needed funds for those facilities. All of the artists gave incredible performances, and the money raised last night will help AZA-accredited facilities with critical animal care costs.

Original video presentations during the show from AZA-accredited Nashville Zoo at Grassmere in Tennessee, Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., Saint Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Mo., and Calgary Zoo in Alberta, Canada, gave audiences a first-hand look at how the pandemic has directly impacted their facilities.

The performances were shot on location at Nashville Zoo and at the Steel Mill studios, also located in Nashville, Tenn.

Steven F. Schankman, head of Contemporary Productions – an entertainment and event management firm – served as the show’s Executive Producer. Steve Schankman has a long history of supporting local organizations, including serving as chairman of the Saint Louis Zoo Commission for seven years.

Schankman added, “As past chairman of the Saint Louis Zoo, I know what it takes to keep the zoo open every day. Over 12,000 animals, representing 500 species, call the Saint Louis Zoo home. Every day. I’m glad I was able to rally top country music talent to support this cause and raise money for the animals. It has been a real honor to produce this show and to work with all the musical acts and the AZA.”

Ashe concluded, “The generosity of our supporters is incredible and inspiring. We thank everyone for donating to AZA-accredited facilities and look forward to safely welcoming everyone back to our aquariums, nature centers, science centers, and zoos!”

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and 12 other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

About Contemporary Productions

Contemporary Productions is an event, entertainment and experiential agency with a storied history spanning fifty years. Our event services include meeting planning, entertainment booking, technical production, theme development, and experiential marketing campaigns to create unforgettable experiences.



I Accept

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. If you continue using our website, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website and you agree to our Privacy Policy.