The featured performer will be Russ Murphy, an inspirational country music artist who specializes in patriotic songs and has performed at military bases and churches all over the world.
Murphy said the evening will be a “heroes’ service” in which American troops, veterans and their families will be recognized. The musician stressed that he does not want the program to be about him.
“There are jillions of singer/songwriters out there,” said Murphy. “I think the best idea is to shed light on the wounded war heroes.”
“The stars of the show are the veterans, troops and their families.”
Accompanying Murphy will be Shilo Harris and his wife, Katheryn. Shilo, a native of McCamey, Texas, served as a staff sergeant in Iraq and suffered severe facial burns and was in a coma for 48 days. The Harrises will share their experiences with the audience.
“They’re very proud of their sacrifice,” said Murphy. “It floors people.”
“Kathreyn and I both feel we are helping veterans by doing these testimonials. We share our experiences so others may realize what a veteran or a wounded warrior and his or her family go through after combat tours,” said Shilo.
In life after his own military service, Shilo has made it his mission to help other wounded veterans.
“Our day job is working with wounded warriors and their families,” Shilo explained. “My wife works with an army funded group, and I work with a non-profit organization called Wounded Warrior Project.”
The concert is free to the public and veterans will be given a free CD. A love offering will be taken to help with the expenses of the tour.
Murphy said he has given away around 51,000 copies of his song “Welcome Home Soldier” to troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I will never charge (for those CDs),” he said. “They’ve paid the price already.”
The program consists of musical performances by Murphy and the Harrises’ story.
“It’s a real simple program. You don’t need anything else,” Murphy said.
Murphy was raised in the central Texas towns of Hubbard and Waco before heading off to Lubbock to attend Texas Tech University.
As the director of the 100-voice University Singers Choir, Russ wrote two full-length musicals that were performed by the choir and orchestra.
In 2006, Russ and his wife, Saralyn, moved to Spring Hill, Tenn., to pursue his writing and singing career. In just a little over two years, Russ has seen five of his songs go to No. 1 on the Inspirational Country Music charts with “Welcome Home Soldier” and “Wood and Steel” both being nominated for Song of the Year.
In 2007, Russ was honored to receive the ICM New Artist of the Year Award and was chosen as the 2008 ICM Songwriter of the Year.