AP NEWS

Michael W. Smith to perform with Huntington Symphony Orchestra

March 26, 2019

HUNTINGTON — For area music fans, Christmas is coming early.

Hogan Haas, executive director of the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, has announced Kenova native and Grammy Award-winning contemporary Christian music veteran Michael W. Smith will be the guest artist for the HSO’s Holiday Concert, set for Saturday, Dec. 14, at the historic Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center.

Tickets will go on sale Monday, April 1, the same day that tickets are also on sale for the 2019 Picnic With The Pops.

Tickets for the HSO Holiday Concert will range from $40 to $100. Go online at http://huntingtonsymphony.org/, stop by the HSO office at 763 3rd Ave. in Huntington or call 304-781-8343 to purchase.

Smith left for Nashville in April 1978 to pursue his music career. In the years since he has earned three Grammy awards — one in 1985 for Best Gospel Vocal Performance for “Michael W. Smith 2,” one in 1996 for Best Pop/Contemporary Christian album for “I’ll Lead You Home,” and a third in 2004 for Best Pop/Contemporary Christian album for “Worship Again.” He also was nominated this year for best Contemporary Christian Album for his latest recording, “Surrounded.”

Smith has also won 45 Dove Awards, had 32 No. 1 hits and has sold more than 15 million albums. He last was in the Mountain State in February 2018, during his induction into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.

Haas said he is excited to welcome Smith back home for Christmas to play a holiday concert with the Symphony, which in years past has welcomed such special holiday guests as two-time Tony Award-winner Michael Cerveris, and national R&B and jazz crooner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., who also brought in tourmates Glenn Leonard of the Temptations, Joe Coleman of The Platters and Joe Blunt of the Drifters.

“I don’t think Michael W. Smith has ever performed here at the Keith-Albee,” Haas said. “When he does that song ‘A Million Lights,’ won’t that be perfect with all the starry lights in the Keith-Albee?”

Haas said he confirmed everything with Smith last week and wanted to go ahead and put tickets for the performance on sale alongside the Pops.

“The quicker it sells out, the better,” Haas said. “This is the biggest thing I think the symphony has ever had.”

Smith visited back in July 2017 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of First Baptist Church of Kenova’s youth choir (New Generation). Other Tri-State concerts have included a 2014 show at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, a 2009 Charleston Municipal Auditorium date with Steven Curtis Chapman. His last big Huntington concert was a 2003 Big Sandy Superstore Arena concert with opener MercyMe — then an up-and-coming band.

Smith has had quite a busy past year. On Dec. 5, 2018, he performed his hit song “Friends” at the funeral of 41st President George H.W. Bush, whom he first met in 1989 when he performed a Christmas concert. They would become friends and went on vacation together in Greece.

Other seminal dates this year include April 30 when Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena is hosting “35 Years of Friends: Celebrating The Music of Michael W. Smith,” a one-night-only concert celebrating his remarkable 35-year career that will include more than 35 artists from all genres performing a set list to include many of Smith’s 35 No. 1 hit singles.

Some of the artists set to perform at that event inlude Amy Grant, CeCe Winans, Jars of Clay, Lee Greenwood, Matthew West, Natalie Grant, The Oak Ridge Boys, Sandi Patty, Vince Gill, Wynonna and more to be announced.

Smith also is scheduled to perform at a special “Honoring Freedom in Washington, D.C., with Michael W. Smith” concert June 29 through July 2.

Go online at http://huntingtonsymphony.org/to find out more about the Symphony and go online at www.michaelwsmith.com to find out more about Michael W. Smith.