Blake Shelton raises funds for Oklahoma with all-star line-up
Singers Miranda Lambert, Reba Mcentire and Usher joined forces with Blake Shelton on Wednesday night (29May13) to help raise funds for the tornado recovery effort in his native Oklahoma.
The Honey Bee hitmaker leaped into action last week (begs20May13) to organise the televised Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert after a twister ripped through the state, devastating the city of Moore and leaving at least 24 people dead.
Shelton got proceedings at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City underway with a touching rendition of God Gave Me You, followed by performances from Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Luke Bryan and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder.
Shelton's wife, Lambert, fought back tears as she highlighted the plight of animals caught up in the natural disaster by belting out The House That Built Me as images of rescued pets were beamed onto the big screens behind the stage, and McEntire reached out to first responders attending the concert to thank them for all their hard work.
She also made a small but poignant change to the lyrics of her Carole King duet, Everyday People, to reflect the tragic disaster of 20 May (13), singing, "They headed south... But not for sun/To Oklahoma where the storms had been", while Vince Gill dedicated Threatened Me With Heaven to the memory of the "24 people who didn't make it".
Shelton also called on pals Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys and Toby Keith to record video messages urging fans to dig deep and donate to non-profit organisation the United Way, with country couple Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks reminding viewers just how close thousands more locals came to facing death.
They said, "Sixteen minutes. That's the only warning these people had from the time the warning signs went off to when the tornado hit the ground. Sixteen minutes.
"It's gonna take time to recover and rebuild in Oklahoma but recover and rebuild, we will. And you can help speed that along with your donation. United Way is taking donations that are gonna be directly distributed to communities affected... It's gonna stay right here for the people that need it. Make that donation now... As Oklahomans, we're asking."
Shelton closed the show by teaming up with his The Voice co-star Usher for a heartwarming performance of Home, before making one last plea for funds: "I wanna thank all my friends who helped out tonight, but most of all, I wanna thank you at home, who took time out of your lives to join us for Healing in the Heartland and remember anything you can do to donate, will have an impact.
"To the people of Oklahoma, you're in our hearts."
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