Nashville, Tenn. (April 23, 2015) – Michael W. Smith joined President Clinton, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and others in remembering victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing, and celebrating the “Oklahoma Standard” during Sunday’s memorial service marking the 20th anniversary of the attack. The three-time GRAMMY® winner also received the prestigious 2015 Applause Award from the Nashville-based Belmont University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts Program on Saturday, April 18.
“It was such an honor to be with President Clinton, the other dignitaries and especially the good, strong people of Oklahoma on this significant date in their history. The strength and resolve of the people of Oklahoma City reminded me that God can take what was meant for evil and turn it to our good,” shares Smith. “I am so proud of Belmont University. I’m proud to be a Trustee and I’m proud to recommend Belmont to so many kids that are looking for a great education. And to hear them perform my music — I have to admit to shedding a tear or two. It was a very emotional experience for me.”
The Applause Award is the highest honor given by the Belmont College of Visual and Performing Arts. Past recipients include Chet Atkins, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, and Ricky Skaggs. Belmont performers honored Smith with variations of his songs, culminating in a rendition of ‘River is Rising’ performed by Smith, a 90 piece orchestra, an 18 piece jazz band, and over 300 accompaniment singers.
After the university event, Smith traveled directly to Oklahoma City where he joined former President Bill Clinton, former Governor Frank Keating, current Governor Mary Fallin, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and others.
After 168 seconds of silence to honor the 168 men, women and children who lost their lives in the attack, Smith sang the National Anthem as part of the somber memorial to honor the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.
Photo Credits: Belmont University
Michael W. Smith is an acclaimed singer, songwriter, and musician who has sold more than 15 million albums, achieved 28 No. 1 songs, earned three GRAMMY® Awards, one American Music Award, and more than 40 Dove Awards. Most recently, in honor of ASCAP’s 100th Anniversary, Smith, along with Amy Grant, was honored as “a cornerstone of Christian music,” for his groundbreaking career and significant influence on the genre. Also in 2014, Smith was named ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ by the Nashville Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and honored by the Nashville Association of Talent Directors (NATD) for his impact on the Nashville entertainment industry. Throughout his career, the Contemporary Christian Music artist has had the opportunity to sing for several Presidents and national leaders. He actively supports the teen club Rocketown, Compassion International, and Samaritan’s Purse, the ministry headed by Franklin Graham. Michael and his wife Debbie live in Middle Tennessee, where they raised their five children. In 2014, Smith released Hymns, his first‐ever classic hymns album available exclusively at all Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations and CrackerBarrel.com, as well as his first studio worship album since 2008, Sovereign, which took a Top 10 spot on the Billboard 200, as well as the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Christian Albums Chart. His fourth career Christmas album, Michael W. Smith & Friends: The Spirit of Christmas, released during the fall of 2014 and received critical acclaim from The New York Times, USA Today and more. Featuring Vince Gill, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Amy Grant, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, Bono and Michael McDonald, the project was one of the top‐selling Christmas albums of the season.