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Story 451
George Beverly Shea - I was a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and also had the privilege of doing some part-time announcer work at WMBI radio. The job paid decently and helped with school bills, so I often stayed on campus and worked over holidays and summer. One evening close to Christmas, the Moody Network broadcast an hour or so of Christmas carols by request. The featured soloist was none other than George Beverly Shea, long associated with evangelist Billy Graham. I was really into Christian rock at the time but Mr. Shea had such a warm sincerity, he taught me to love the old-time hymns, too. I approached him before the broadcast and asked if he would kindly sign a record album cover or two. One would be for me, and one for my sister. Mr. Shea could have blown me off (as so many Christian "superstars" did in those days) but he took my hand, smiled and chatted with me for about ten minutes. He signed my records and talked about the old days when he, like me, was a WMBI announcer. I told him the difference was no one ever wanted me to sing! Mr. Shea, then no spring chicken, proceeded to give a thrilling "concert" in front of the microphone, with simple piano and organ accompaniment. The listeners were elated and we were deluged with requests. When he was done, he stepped back into the booth I worked in (preparing some news clips for the next morning) and said, "It was nice meeting you, Jim. The Lord bless you." Bev Shea is now (at the time of this writing) 98 years old and still my favorite. And yeah -- I like almost every kind of music, secular or religious. But I've never experienced such kindness and gentlemanly courtesy.
J.S. - Posted: January 24, 2008

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