The first international singing star

By Rosie Moore

When I sit down at my piano I play a lot of the old-fashioned hymns that I love and also some contemporary hymns that are becoming favorites today. One of my favorite singer of hymns is George Beverly Shea, and I play a lot of his hymns that I can still hear him sing in his sonorous voice. A Canadian-born American born in 1909, he lived for 104 years singing his beloved hymns for the Lord. He was often described as America’s beloved gospel singer and was considered, ‘the first international singing star”.

Mr. Shea was born in Winchester, Ontario, Canada. He was taught to play the violin by his father and the piano and organ by his mother. His bass-baritone voice provided many opportunities to sing in his father’s church. The Shea family served in many different churches in Canada and the United States. George felt that using his voice to serve God was his calling. He gave his heart to Jesus when he was five or six but re-dedicated his life to Christ when he was eighteen. He was married twice (His first wife passed away) and had two children.

One day there was a knock on his door. When he opened it he saw a tall young man with blond hair. They shook hands. He said he wanted him to be his gospel singer. So began a harmonious friendship with Billy Graham that lasted sixty-six years. Billy often said he wanted George to sing one of his hymns before his sermon, as it prepared the audience to be peaceful before his sermon.

If you are fortunate enough to have access to a computer, go to Youtube and listen to Mr. Shea’s songs. Some of my favorites are: “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” “The Wonder of It All,” “In Times Like These” and, “No one Ever Cared for me Like Jesus” just to name a few.

My favorite is “Ivory Palaces”:

My Lord has garments so wondrous fine,

And myrrh their texture fills;

Its fragrance reached to this heart of mine

With joy my being thrills.

 

Out of the ivory palaces,

Into a world of woe,

Only His great eternal love,

Made my Savior go.”

 

Billy Graham was right, listening to George Beverly Shea’s songs does bring a sense of peace to one’s heart.

 

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