One month after the devastating tsunami hit South Asia, artists, musicians, religious leaders and the community gathered to honor the victims and raise money for disaster relief at “An Evening for Restoration: Music City Comes Together for Tsunami Relief” last night at Belmont University in Nashville. The sold-out show raised more than $50,000 to help World Vision, the international relief agency which has thousands of staff members on the ground working in the stricken South Asian region where more than 200,000 people have died.
Co-hosted by Michael W. Smith and Kathy Mattea, “An Evening for Restoration: Music City Comes Together for Tsunami Relief,” featured performances by Smith and Mattea as well as Steven Curtis Chapman, Diamond Rio, CeCe Winans, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Cropper, the Oak Ridge Boys, Kirk Whalum, tobyMac and Diverse City, Crystal Gayle, MercyMe, Lee Greenwood, Jaci Velasquez, The Whites, The Crabb Family, Dr. Bobby Jones, Michael Martin Murphey, Micah Stampley, Billy Walker and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. Vince Gill made a surprise appearance as the guitarist for the house band.
“An Evening for Restoration: Music City Comes Together for Tsunami Relief” was also live, exclusively on XM Satellite Radio.
Because the concert was produced with all donated goods and volunteer staffing, including the use of the 1,000-seat Massey Performing Arts Center at Belmont University, every cent of each $25 ticket went to World Vision. During intermission, World Vision made an additional request for donations, and the audience responded with amazing generosity, offering an estimated $27,000 in cash and check donations. More money is expected to be counted following the concert from audience members and XM Satellite Radio listeners make contributions through World Vision’s website (www.WorldVision.org) and/or the event’s official website (www.ProjectRestore.org)
The benefit concert was part of the Project Restore initiative, established to serve as the gospel music industry’s unified campaign for raising awareness of how the music community and its fans can be involved, including encouraging financial donations to World Vision and other relief agencies which are directly providing disaster relief for the countries and the victims of the tsunami.
World Vision has been providing relief in most of the areas impacted by the tsunami, with 3,700 staff on the ground in the five hardest-hit countries alone. They are distributing survival packs of food, bottled water, medicine, sleeping mats, clothing, and household items to tens of thousands of people. World Vision has set a $100 million goal for the South Asia disaster, the largest single commitment in their 54-year history.
PHOTO: Before the Music City Tsunami Relief Concert, organizers and World Vision met backstage. From left to right: John Styll, president of Gospel Music Association; Marty Lonsdale, vice president of World Vision; David Toycen, president & CEO of World Vision Canada; artist and Project Restore spokesperson Steven Curtis Chapman; Artist Hosts Kathy Mattea and Michael W. Smith and Dr. Robert Fisher, president of Belmont University.
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