CMT de­votes award show to ‘hope and heal­ing’

Times Colonist - - Arts - KRISTIN M. HALL

NASHVILLE — CMT is for­go­ing for­mal award pre­sen­ta­tions dur­ing this year’s Artists of the Year show and de­vot­ing the en­tire live show to “a night of hope and heal­ing through the power of mu­sic” fol­low­ing a mass shoot­ing at a coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val in Las Ve­gas.

The cable net­work said Thurs­day the new for­mat for the Oct. 18 show will fo­cus on the fans, as well as those af­fected by re­cent dev­as­tat­ing hur­ri­canes and wild­fires. The show will air live from Nashville’s Scher­mer­horn Sym­phony Cen­ter at 8 p.m.

“It doesn’t feel right to be pat­ting our­selves on the back that night like we would nor­mally do, but in­stead turn the fo­cus a lit­tle bit to­ward the fans and thank them for what they’ve done for the artists,” Mar­garet Comeaux, the show’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, told the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Each of the show’s hon­ourees, which in­clude Ja­son Aldean, Luke Bryan, Flor­ida Ge­or­gia Line, Chris Sta­ple­ton and Keith Ur­ban, agreed with the changes, Comeaux said.

Mu­si­cians will par­tic­i­pate in pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ments through­out the night and all the hon­orees, in­clud­ing Aldean, who was the head­liner at the Route 91 Har­vest Fes­ti­val on Oct. 1 when a gun­man opened fire on fans, will have an op­por­tu­nity to give a mes­sage to fans.

The show will also di­rect fans to the CMT One Coun­try web­site, which has re­sources for vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties, char­i­ties and re­lief or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The show will be­gin with a per­for­mance of Rise Up by An­dra Day along with Grammy win­ners Lit­tle Big Town. Day and Com­mon will per­form their col­lab­o­ra­tion Stand Up for Some­thing with Lit­tle Big Town and Lee Ann Wo­mack.

Sta­ple­ton said the shoot­ing that killed 58 peo­ple and left nearly 500 in­jured was the “worst news to wake up to” and that he has felt both fear and sor­row since it oc­curred. But he said that he be­lieves that mu­sic has the ca­pac­ity to heal in times of na­tional tragedy.

“The right song in the right mo­ment, even in your dark­est hour when you’re alone or feel­ing alone, can let you know that some­body else has been in that dark­est hour or has felt the way that you do,” Sta­ple­ton said. “And it helps bring us to­gether and helps us feel all part of one com­mu­nity.”

Sta­ple­ton said vic­tims of the shoot­ing will need fi­nan­cial sup­port. But artists can also help by just re­turn­ing to the stage.

“Keep play­ing mu­sic and keep go­ing to watch peo­ple play mu­sic and go to con­certs and lis­ten to mu­sic,” Sta­ple­ton said. “And not let fear win. That’s a hard thing to think about and say when this is such a fresh thing. We can’t yield to that.”

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