Tedd Smith

By   •   January 30, 2009

As pianist for the Billy Graham team for 54 years, I was privileged to accompany George Beverly Shea at the piano. My experiences with Bev, both musically and personally, were meaningful in many ways.

Besides the ministry I had with Bev in the Billy Graham Crusades, I will always remember the concerts we held for many years in major concert halls throughout the United States and Canada, as well as extended tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the Orient. We also worked together on recordings, television programs and hundreds of other events as diverse as providing Christmas music for the American troops in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, or accompanying Bev when he sang one night at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.

It has been a joy to be part of Bev’s life and ministry. He has always conveyed the love of God in a voice that has touched audiences in a personal way through his gentle, clear and profound manner of singing. Bev remains a lifelong friend whose friendship I treasure.

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  1. Randy Stafford says:

    I have always felt that the keyboard musicians for the Graham crusades never really received the honor they justly deserved. Oh, I’m not blaming anyone. At least in the early crusades, as the intro to a song was playing, Cliff Barrows would acknowledge, “Tedd Smith at the piano & Don Hustad (or John Innes or whomever) at the organ.” Tedd Smith has ALWAYS been THE ABSOLUTE BEST PIANIST I have ever heard . . . who can play any genre of religious music superbly. I emailed him once and requested he write a book MY VIEW FROM THE PIANO BENCH, but he most humbly refused.

  2. Carol Chatman says:

    I enjoyed your music so much when you played for the Billy Graham Crusades! Thank you for your many years of ministry! I love my copy of your Crusade Piano Solos volume One that I purchased many years ago. In recent years I have unsuccessfully searched for additional volumes of your piano solos. Are there other volumes? If so, where can I buy them? Thank you!!!

    1. BGEA says:

      Sorry, Carol, we don’t have that in our online bookstore. You might try online retailers.

  3. Kenneth Briggs says:

    The Power of Gospel Music,reaches beyond mankinds limits to the soul,in timeless manner to lift our praises to The King Of Creation.Thanks to the BGEA music team.

  4. Colin Simpson says:

    I first heard Tedd Smith play at Harrigay Arena in 1954. Two piano teachers had given up on me. When I heard Tedd play, God showed me what he was going. I then listened to him on the radio and bought the Billy Graham Records. I studied harmony and in a year or so I was playing at evangelistic meetings and I met my wife Heather at one. I taught myself to play the organ and the net result was that I played for churches and came to enjoy music. I am so so glad that I heard Tedd play. Decades later I wrote to him to thank him and he replied from New York. My life would have been a lot poorer had I not heard Tedd play.

  5. Tom Gannaway says:

    Mr. Smith,

    My wife and I recently rented “The Hiding Place.” I was struck by, among other things, the beauty of the soundtrack. Your poignant score was an integral part of the power of the film, and your melodies very memorable. Are you still writing? I would love to hear other original music you have done.

    Richest Blessings,
    Tom Gannaway

  6. Rob Randall says:

    You might remember my Father, Bob Randall who also played the piano for some early crusades, Trinidad as well as Europe in Youth for Christ meetings. He loved all you guys dearly because of your commitment to Chrst and the Evangelists call upon your lives. Rob Randall. Eph. 3:20-21

  7. Sonja Gale says:

    Dear Tedd,
    I am someone that, along with my husband at the time, was privileged to meet you way back in 1958 when my husband and I were on a choir trip with Wheaton College. My husband, Bruce, was privileged to stay in your home in Western Springs, Maryland. Because he sent you and your wife a thank you card, you responded and there began a relationship. During the 1962 Chicago crusade, you accepted the invitation to give a concert where my husband was minister of music. Your humility and grace greatly impressed us! We went to Costa Rica in 1965 where my husband finished Medical School (in Spanish) and served for 39 years. My husband is with the Lord now, but I wanted to tell you what an inspiration you were and ARE to us both. God bless.

  8. Stuart J. Mitchell says:

    As a young convert at the Glasgow, “Tell Scotland” Crusade in April 1955, I was intensely attracted by the low-profile, but superb keyboard expertise of Tedd Smith. In 1981 Luis Palau returned for the next major crusade in the same venue, when I was privileged to share the piano-playing. Tedd was an immense (though unconscious) influence on me, and for his life’s work I will be eternally grateful. It was a privilege to chat to him for an afternoon in Glasgow in 1991 and experience his humility and artistry face to face. His recorded legacy should be issued on CD. His standards of musical ministry remain the ideal for young Christian pianists, even in these days (sadly) of the Praise Band. Thank you, Tedd, for so much.

  9. Lois Whitehead says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift of music to the world.
    I remember listening to you play at the Crusades in Toronto many years ago. I only wish you would receive the recognition you so deserve on the programmes on Dr. Graham and on Bev. Shea that have been shown on T.V. Bill Gaither does not mention you in the interview he did with Mr. Shea.
    Thank you