Last year, a week after the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, Michael Ray returned to Las Vegas to play for survivors and first responders at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. The Florida native partnered with Musicians on Call in an improptu attempt to lift spirits during the incredibly difficult time. On Friday, Michael returned to Sunrise, this time to officially kick off a permanent music program at the hospital.
The charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music, ACM Lifting Lives, gave $150,000 to make the program possible, and for Michael, it’s an incredibly personal cause, since he played Route 91 two days before the massacre. It also hits home because many of his family members are first responders.
At the hospital on Friday, the “Get to You” hitmaker accompanied himself on guitar, as he sang his two number ones, “Think a Little Less” and “Kiss You in the Morning,” as well as a new song, “Dancing Forever,” which will be on his forthcoming sophomore album, Amos.
Michael first performed “Dancing Forever” at the hospital in the days after the tragedy, and until Friday, he hadn’t sung it since. An auditorium full of medical personal and patients looked on, as he sang the song as a tribute to the 58 lives lost in the shooting: “When you’re here, when you’re gone/I’ll be here, looking on/so keep on dancing forever.”
During the performance, Michael wore a “Vegas Strong” bracelet one of the victims gave him shortly after the shooting. He’s never taken it off.
After his public performance, Michael visited patients at their bedsides. The music program will now continue every week at the Vegas hospital.
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