Nashville Songwriting Legend Honored by Music City Who’s Who at Charity Gala

Vince Gill, Kenny Chesney and Dolly Parton are among stars and industry elite applauding Kris Kristofferson and others for humanitarian efforts

photo by Randi Radcliff

Kenny Chesney, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill and others shared the spotlight with revered business and community leaders on Monday (March 26) during the 4th annual T.J. Martell Foundation Honors Gala, held at Nashville's Hutton Hotel. Music industry executive Joe Galante, Gaylord Entertainment CEO Colin Reed, legendary singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson, Vanderbilt Health System CEO Dr. C. Wright Pinson and Healthways co-founder and Nashville Predators co-owner and CEO Tom Cigarran were commended for their career achievements and their dedication to humanitarian efforts.

Emmylou Harris presented Kris with the Frances Williams Preston Lifetime Music Industry Award. Frances Preston, who co-presented the honor, took a moment to praise her longtime friend Kris. "He exemplifies all we in the music industry hope to be,"  Frances said.

Martina McBride performed her hit "Independence Day," while Ronnie Dunn sang the Brooks & Dunn hit "Believe," both in honor of music industry veteran Joe Galante, who helped launch the careers of numerous artists, including Alabama, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Martina, Carrie Underwood and The Judds, while Kenny and Dolly Parton made surprise appearances to present him with the Tony Martell Lifetime Entertainment Achievement Award. K.T. Oslin was also on hand to show her support, and opened the evening with a rendition of her signature hit, "80's Ladies." "Anytime it has anything to do with [Joe], I say yes," K.T. said. "Joe first of all got me when nobody else did. He was my kickstart, and he's ended up being a dear friend."

Vince, host for the evening's event, presented Gaylord CEO Colin with the Lifetime Humanitarian Award. "They have a long history of a lot of great work and I've been lucky to have been a part of it for over 20, 25 years,"  Vince told CountryWeekly.com. "They've been doing things since I've been here. [I'm] seeing a lot of old friends who are a part of my life, who I've known since I was a teenager. It's just a room full of people that I'm crazy about and I love to see people that deserve it get a 'way to go.'

The event also featured live and silent auctions. A sold-out event boasting over 400 attendees, the gala raised $400,000 for the T.J. Martell foundation's fight against cancer, leukemia and AIDS.

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