George Beverly Shea Gives the Gift of Music
Angola Prison Receives His 100th Birthday Present
November 6, 2009 - Inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola recently received a special gift: a Rodgers 3 manual draw knob organ from legendary gospel singer George Beverly Shea.
By Joy Allmond
“The organ was a gift for my 100th birthday (February 1) from Franklin Graham and friends of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Franklin announced this was for me to keep and enjoy while I was still breathing, but when I go to Heaven, the organ would be donated to the chapel at Angola Penitentiary,” said Shea.
He didn’t want to miss out on the blessing of giving it away in person. After several months, he called Franklin Graham and told him, “I am dying for it to go now!”
Warden Burl Cain introduced Shea to the audience. Though Angola prison was once known as the “bloodiest prison in the nation,” violence is at an all-time low as it has been reported that approximately 2,500 inmates participate in moral rehabilitation programs.”
“I have the deepest admiration for Warden Burl Cain, who has become a mentor, friend, and soul winner by the grace of Jesus Christ, extending life and liberty to many grateful men,” said Shea.
John Innes, organist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for 40 years, accompanied Shea on the Rodgers organ and played a few hymns.
George Beverly Shea is known as the musical mainstay of the Billy Graham Crusades, having traveled with Graham since the beginning of his crusade ministry in the late 1940’s.
In 2006, Franklin Graham held an evangelistic festival at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. Since then, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has had a special relationship with the Angola Prison. Follow our journey by reading these related articles:
Set Free in Angola Prison
Violence to Peace
To the Glory of Jesus Christ
Freedom for the Captives
Prisoners Find Lasting Change...On the Inside