The Recording Academy honored Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Quincy Jones last night for their support of music industry issues during the group's annual Grammys on the Hill dinner in the nation's capital. The evening capped a day of advocacy meetings between more than 100 music creators, congressional members and their staff.

During the day, music industry participants were briefed on current issues that they may want to address with the nation's leaders, such as copyright protection and art preservation.

Hit producer/songwriter Desmond Child told Billboard.biz last night that he was part of a team that met with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). But, Child said, he took an approach that was different from others when making his argument to protect music: music can promote world peace.

"They must help keep music alive and thriving," Child said. "Our music is the thing that inspires people to be free, which is what America is all about. Our music reaches the world. It makes people feel good, which is much better than using a tank. But music can't be made on a shoe string."

Songwriter Brett James performed two of his songs for the dinner attendees, including the award-winning song "Jesus, Take the Wheel."

"We want them all to understand that there are so many people who work behind the scenes," James told Billboard.biz after his performance. James, who lives in Nashville, says he believes that the number of songwriters in Nashville that have been able to continue earning a living since online piracy hit its stride in the 1990s have shrunk from more than 1,300 to about 250.

Among the legislators enjoying the dinner event were Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.).

Performers throughout the day and evening events included Brett James, Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Keb' Mo' and Big &
Rich's John Rich.

The Grammy Foundation also awarded Boiling Springs, S.C.-based Chesnee High School with a $5,000 grant as the 2007 Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise Award recipient.