Darius Rucker and Friends Raised Over $402K For St. Jude's

Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker's sold-out eighth annual "Darius and Friends" benefit concert raised $402,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which has pushed total raised over the past nine years from his endeavors to $1.2 million.

Rucker had this to say, "You can't help but be moved by the amazing work that St. Jude does. To raise this kind of money and awareness for them... for the families that rely on St. Jude, it's just incredible. I'm so grateful to all our friends who came out and donated their time to be on the show-- and Brooks & Dunn for surprising me onstage! Just wow!"

This year's sold out event in downtown Nashville featured surprise guests Brooks & Dunn, along with Dan + Shay, Luke Combs and Michael Ray, KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer, Paul Sanchez and over 2,400 fans. We were sent the following highlights:

"It's always so cool to sing here," Ronnie Dunn told the crowd from the stage after singing "Red Dirt Road" with Kix Brooks and Rucker. "It's like a spiritual experience. I guess that's why they call it the Mother Church."

Brooks & Dunn finished off their appearance with "Boot Scootin' Boogie," with Brooks pulling a fan on stage to dance with him, before heading across the street to Bridgestone Arena where the Nashville Predators were hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup.

"I'm blown away right now," Rucker said as the duo departed. "They left the hockey game to come play for you!"

This year included Dan + Shay, Combs and Ray - who all scored hits with their debut singles. Combs, who just celebrated multiweek No. 1 "Hurricane," made his appearance just a few hours after his national television debut on "TODAY" on Monday morning. Ray sang his own hit, "Kiss You in the Morning," then joined Rucker on a cover of Randy Travis' "Forever and Ever, Amen." And Thayer helped Rucker live out a childhood dream with a cover of KISS' epic anthem, "Dr. Love."

"When I was a kid, I would stack up cans of corn and peas and put a flashlight on top, grab a broom and sing KISS songs until my mother made me stop," Rucker told the crowd.

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