Thursday, January 31, 2013

Billy Graham Library will salute 104-year-old Shea

Impressed that Billy Graham is still going at 94 years old? Well, he's but a kid compared to George Beverly Shea, who turns 104 on Friday!
For decades, Shea's baritone was a highlight at Graham Crusades as he sang "How Great Thou Art" and "I'd Rather Have Jesus."
To honor his big birthday, Charlotte's Billy Graham Library will offer a special exhibit, starting Friday. It's called "How Sweet the Sound: A Tribute to George Beverly Shea."
Included will be memorabilia from the legendary Gospel singer's long career, which started on Chicago radio. Highlights of the display include the piano on which he composed the music to the popular hymn “I’d Rather Have Jesus;” his Lifetime Achievement Grammy (awarded in 2011) and a Western Electric Model 633A "Salt Shaker" microphone that Shea used at WMBI in Chicago in the early 1940s.

"I would feel lost getting up to preach if Bev were not there to prepare the way through an appropriate song," Billy Graham wrote about Shea in his autobiography. "But I will always be grateful not only for his musical contributions to our Crusades but also for his warm spirit and his personal friendship over the years."
These days, Shea and his wife live in Montreat --  less than a mile away from the Graham home.
 The Library's exhibit is free and will go until March 31. Guests will have the opportunity to write a personal birthday greeting to Shea during its opening week.
The Billy Graham Library is at 4330 Westmont Drive. It's open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

 Watch the library's tribute video at its site. You'll have to click on "George Beverly Shea at 104," then on "Events," and then on "'How Sweet the Sound: A Tribute to George Beverly Shea." It's worth all the clicking: You'll get snippets some of some of Shea;s vintage performances.
-- Tim Funk
Watch the library's tribute video.


Anonymous said...

104! Outstanding! Don't know if he still sings, but well into his 90s, he was sounding great.