Aaron Tippin is no stranger to charity work. The 52-year-old country singer is a devoted spokesman for the Toys for Tots pro-gram and brings attention to it during each of his shows.
"Every year for several years, we've been putting together bikes for Toys for Tots for the Marine Corps," Tippin said in a recent phone interview from his home outside of Nashville. "Every show, I put together a bike while I'm singing a song.
"It's fun to do and it's just a reminder that, come this Christmas, there'll be a lot of kids with nothing under the tree."
Aaron Tippin will perform on Sunday at DelGrosso's Amusement Park.
Such a charitable personality made Tippin a natural for this year's annual concert and Children's Miracle Network Telethon at DelGrosso's Amusement Park on June 5. He'll perform a free concert on the DelGrosso's stage at 4 p.m., while the entire park will feature donation buckets and frequent live look-ins from WTAJ's coverage of the telethon.
According to Vanessa Klingensmith, manager of the Children's Miracle Network at Geisinger Hospital in Danville, since the telethon began in 1985 it has raised more than $44 million for Geisinger Pediatric Services and Janet Weis Children's Hospital, also located in Danville. The telethon is broadcast simultaneously each year by WTAJ in Altoona and WYOU in Wilkes-Barre.
She said that DelGrosso's Amusement Park has been partnered with the Children's Miracle Network Telethon since 1991.
If you go
Who: Aaron Tippin
When: 4 p.m. June 5
Where: DelGrosso's Amusement Park, Tipton
More information: Visit www.delgrossos.com/dap.html or call 684-3538
"There's groups from all over the county that come in and do their donations [in-person] here," said Jeff Ingram, marketing manager for DelGrosso's. "It's a lot of money raised [at the park]."
Klingensmith said approximately $2,500 was donated at the park in 2010, in addition to $2,500 donated by DelGrosso's Foods. Tippin's loyal fans should help the numbers for in-park donations climb, Ingram said.
"This guy has a great following and if we have a [sunny] day, I think we're gonna get hammered," Ingram said.
Tippin's country music career began in the mid-1980s in Nashville, where he worked as a songwriter for such artists as Charley Pride, Mark Collie and David Ball. He was signed to RCA Records in 1990 and had a big hit with his first single, 1991's "You've Got to Stand for Something." The song, which became a kind of anthem for soldiers during the first Gulf War, eventually reached No. 6 on the Billboard country charts.
Tippin's 1992 single "There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with the Radio" became his first No. 1 country song and drove his second album, "Read Between the Lines," to platinum sales - the only one of his records to reach that plateau. Tippin has been a consistent hitmaker during his career. In fact, from 1990 to 2005, every single he released reached the Billboard Hot 100 country charts. Those hits included two more No. 1 songs - 1995's "That's As Close As I'll Get to Loving You" and 2000's "Kiss This."
But perhaps Tippin's most memorable song, 2001's "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagles Fly," came up just short of that No. 1 position, topping out at No. 2. The patriotic anthem was recorded just two days after the Sept. 11 attacks and released soon after. As America grieved, Tippin's song soared, eventually reaching No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 - the biggest crossover hit of his career.
The song will surely be back on the radio this fall, as Americans recognize the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Tippin said he isn't sure yet how he'll spend the day.
"Obviously, we have shows going on [in September]," he said. "Probably in our own way, even on our own bus - we're a bus full of patriots on my bus - we'll celebrate it. Especially this year. We made a big dent in the enemy [with the death of Osama Bin Laden], so I think it's going to be special."
Tippin hasn't put out an album of original music since 2009, but that doesn't mean he's coasting on past success. He frequently collaborates with his wife, country singer Thea Tippin, and recently worked with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to produce a charitable CD called "I Wanna Play."
The proceeds from the CD go to the NAMM Foundation, whose goal is to raise music participation - specifically to the organization's Wanna Play Fund. The CD features a strong lineup of country stars, including George Jones, Ronnie Milsap, Lorrie Morgan and Tracy Lawrence.
According to Tippin, the Wanna Play Fund is, "an organization the NAMM folks started to put instruments in the hands of needy children."
Tippin and his wife wrote the title track, "I Wanna Play," performed by Aaron, but there are no plans for a formal release of the single.
"We never aimed it at radio, actually," Tippin said. "Through [Huckabee's] program on Fox, we were just trying to get awareness [for the project]. It's more of a pop feeling than the stuff I usually write. I wasn't really writing it for a country audience ... I was really looking for a song that kids could sing."
To purchase the "I Wanna Play" album, visit www.wannaplaycd.org.
Tippin has worked with politicians in the past, once penning a song in support of Newt Gingrich's "Drill Here" movement, and he and Huckabee are good friends and hunting buddies.
But when asked if a career in politics was in his future, he erupts in laughter.
"I've got too many skeletons in my closet," Tippin said in his thick Southern accent. "I can't really see ole Aaron being a part of that."
Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick is at 946-7466.