Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith Wrap Up Historic Tour

Christian music sensations Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith concluded their historic "United Tour" this past weekend after performing together in 20 major markets to more than 50,000 people.

"Each of these beautiful evening concerts offered terrific variety," reported Andrew Kaplan of Chicago-based JAM Productions, which presented The United Tour. "Fans were very moved and there was such a feeling of community in the room."

The monthlong tour, which kicked off Oct. 7 and concluded Nov. 8, showcased two of Christian Music's most recognized and beloved artists, who together have garnered a staggering eight Grammy awards, 96 Dove Awards, 77 No. 1 singles and more than 30 Gold and Platinum albums. It also marked the first tour for Chapman since his family's loss of their five-year-old daughter, Maria.

"This time on the road with my great friend and touring partner Michael was truly a gift," reflected Chapman. "In this difficult season, I wasn't sure how I would be able to do it. I'm grateful to all involved and look forward to the chance to join together again soon."

Chapman's manager, Jim Houser, meanwhile, called the tour a "memorable and historic event," which they were grateful to have been a part of.

"The collaboration and partnership on tour of these two incredible men was a long time coming, but well worth the wait," he stated.

The idea for the joint tour reportedly came shortly after Chapman and Smith spent time together in the United Kingdom working on the "Compassionart project," which brought more than 10 of Christian Music's most revered singers, songwriters and worship leaders together to write and record a collection of songs for charity.

According to Compassionart, Smith said the Jan. 7-11 gathering in Scotland was "one of the most significant weeks of [his] life."

"Michael and Steven have been friends for years and really connected on a creative level while overseas together working on the Compassionart project," reported Chaz Corzine, Michael W. Smith's manager. "I think they have such great respect for each other and each other's music; it was inevitable they'd eventually work together."

In addition to uniting on stage, Chapman and Smith also brought their ministry passions together. Through a ground breaking partnership between Chapman's ministry dedicated to orphan care, Shaohannah's Hope, and Smith's long-time ministry partner, Compassion International, more than 2,000 orphaned children in Compassion's program around the world were sponsored as a result of the tour.

"This has truly been one of the greatest tours we've had the privilege to participate in," reported Corzine.

With the conclusion of the tour, Smith will be preparing for the Nov. 29 kick-off of his "It's a Wonderful Christmas Tour," slated to run until Dec. 19.

Chapman, meanwhile, will be collaborating with FamilyLife and Focus On The Family for the third annual "Cry of the Orphan" national media and radio blitz, which will be held throughout next week.

Chapman, who for years has been a vocal advocate for adoption, founded Shaohannah's Hope with his wife, Mary Beth, to reach the church with God's call to care for orphans and to help more experience the miracle of adoption by reducing the financial barriers, primarily through awarding adoption grants.

Since the death of one of the Chapmans' three adopted daughters, the ministry has raised over $760,000 in donations through a special fund created in loving remembrance of her.

This weekend, Shaohannah's Hope will hold its annual banquet and fundraiser in Franklin, Tenn., where the ministry is based.