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"Beloved Gospel Singer" George Beverly Shea to Celebrate 100th Birthday On February 1

  • Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Billy Graham Crusade Soloist to be Honored at Private Gathering at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, N.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., January 30, 2009 -- For decades he was a fixture on the Billy Graham Crusade stage and on televisions in living rooms around the country. Now, George Beverly Shea, the award-winning baritone who is often described as “America’s Beloved Gospel Singer,” will reach a new milestone in his storied life – the century mark.

Shea will celebrate his 100th birthday on Sunday, February 1. One day later, he will be the guest of honor during a special private gathering of family and friends at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C.

“On the ladder of life, I have reached rung 100, and I can see the scenery a little better than those who are still climbing,” said Mr. Shea of his 100th birthday.

In 2008, at the age of 99, Mr. Shea continued to perform in front of large audiences, taking part in Franklin Graham’s Festivals in Knoxville, Tenn. and Charleston, S.C. In the past few years, he has ministered alongside a third generation of Grahams by performing at Will Graham Celebrations in Gastonia, N.C. and Paducah, Ky.

Born in Winchester, Ontario, February 1, 1909, where his father was a Wesleyan Methodist minister, Mr. Shea’s first public singing was in the choir of his father's church. Through the years, Mr. Shea has been one of the busiest men on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Team. Between Crusade, radio, and television dates in many countries, he has sung hundreds of concerts and recorded more than 70 albums of sacred music.

“Bev was the very first person I asked to join me in evangelism. I have sometimes said that I would feel lost getting up to preach if Bev were not there to prepare the way through an appropriate song,” Billy Graham has said. “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.”

For his significant contributions to Gospel music, Mr. Shea was inducted into the National Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame in February 1996 and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame by the Gospel Music Association in 1978. He has been nominated for 10 Grammy Awards, winning one in 1965.

Mr. Shea holds the world record for singing to the most people in person, having had a career in network radio beginning in the 1920s, and reaching hundreds of millions through Billy Graham's worldwide Crusades.

About BGEA
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) proclaims the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world by every effective means available. From its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., BGEA runs a wide range of domestic and international evangelism ministries, including: large-scale Festivals led by evangelists Franklin Graham and Will Graham; Dare to Be a Daniel, a youth evangelism training project; My Hope World Evangelism Through Television; the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, offering the hope of Jesus Christ in the midst of tragedy; and many others through print, television, telephone, radio and the Internet. For more information, please visit www.billygraham.org.

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Lee Ann Jackson
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