Country Stars Help Flood Ravaged Nashville

Country music's stars hold a telethon to help Nashville recover from flooding.

May 17, 2010 — -- Country music's biggest stars joined forces Sunday night for a telethon that raised $1.5 million to help Nashville recover from the devastating floods earlier this month.

The telethon, organized by Great American Country Television, was rowdy, rousing proof that Music City is still standing and still singing.

Brad Paisley kicked off the night with the first song, and the first big pledge.

"I think it's time to start things off with a donation," Paisley said. "We're going to donate $100,000, is that OK?"

It was more than OK. Nearly 2,000 homes were destroyed or damaged by the flooding that struck country music's capital on May 1. Damages have already reached $1.5 billion dollars and are climbing.

Country music suffered too. Its most hallowed hall, the Grand Ole Opry, is now stripped to its concrete foundation with workers trying to restore the famous building. The stage that country's greatest, like Dolly Parton and George Strait, have often used is now destroyed. What artifacts and instruments could be salvaged have been sent off to be restored.

At the telethon, stars like Keith Urban, in between their songs, spoke of their own personal losses.

"Lots of my musical equipment started floating down the river," Urban said. "It was seen last in Smyrna, I think."

But the people of Nashville are looking towards the future.

"I know we will get back to the city we once were," said Hillary Scott, part of Lady Antebellum.

There is a lot of work to do. More than 2,600 people are temporarily homeless. The people of Nashville fear mudslides and contaminated waters.

Country star Martina McBride, who sang and worked the phones last night, said they are up to it.

"It was a great energy last night, everybody coming together to do what they could to help. it was very positive and hopeful, said McBride, adding "I know Nashville's going to pull through this because of the spirit of the people."

The city has been galvanized, with other telethons, including one at our ABC affiliate, WKRN, that raised more than $500,000.

Singer Will Hoge sang, "Down here we're washed by the water, but the water can't wash us away."

No, the water can't wash them away.

If you would like to help the citizens of Nashville, ABC News has put together list of charities accepting donations:

To contact Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee click here.

To contact MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief, who is specifically helping musicians rebuild, click here.

To donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, click here.

To contact the Gibson Foundation click here.

To contact the Nashville Red Cross, click here.