Smith performs at Isothermal Performing Arts Auditorium

Published 12:24 pm Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shep-Song Music & Productions announces to gospel music lovers a concert at the Isothermal Foundation Performing Arts Auditorium on Saturday, May 28.

Michael S. Smith

The event, titled “An Evening With the Shepherd,” will showcase the music ministry of one of the Western Carolina’s premier artists – Michael Shepherd Smith. Smith is a musician, composer, singer, director and pastor.

Smith was playing the piano at the age of five. He attributes his love for music to his mother, the late Mary Williams Smith. By the age of 12, Smith was playing piano for most of the local churches in McDowell County and his skills were heard each Sunday afternoon on WBRM radio, where he accompanied a local quintet – the Rising Stars. After graduation, he moved to Greensboro to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1976 and became pianist for his favorite group – The Rising Gospel Singers.

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The Risings solidified his developing skills and it was with them that his vocal gifts began to surface. It was through the Risings that he was introduced to the Gospel Music Workshop of America, an international aggregation of gospel music enthusiasts founded by the king of Gospel music – the late Reverend James Cleveland. Through this organization, he was exposed to such gospel greats as Rev. Cleveland, Mattie Moss Clark, Walter Hawkins and Thomas Whitfield. The impact these artists had on Smith was, in his words, “immeasurable.”

In 1977, Smith formed his own group – the Voices of Inspiration. Over the course of their 34 years, nearly 75 of North and South Carolina’s most gifted singers and musicians have been a part of the Voices of Inspiration music ministry.

Smith has performed in 17 states and the District of Columbia and internationally in Ghana and Liberia, West Africa. He has composed music for a number of artists, including national recording artist Dorothy Norwood (“I Prayed About It”). Smith is the pastor of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Marion, N.C.

“An Evening With the Shepherd” will feature a collection of his recent compositions interpreted by a 45 voice choir, The Voices of Inspiration, The Shepherd’s Singers, a six-piece gospel band, several of the area’s soloists and The Shepherd himself – Michael S. Smith.

Tickets may be purchased at Staley Clothing in Spindale, N.C., by contacting Tonya Staley at 864-592-3738 or Beatrice Josey at 864-907-2718, or at the door.

– article submitted by Tonya S. Staley