George Beverly Shea: The Wonder of it All


SheaGeorge Beverly Shea has been called "America’s most beloved gospel singer." He has been a partner in the Billy Graham ministry for more than 50 years and is known throughout the world for his rich baritone voice. This public television documentary chronicles his life and music.

George Beverly Shea: The Wonder of it All is a rich mix of rare archival footage, contemporary performances, and personal interviews with Shea and other members of the Billy Graham association. Shea’s life and career has spanned the entire 20 th century, and the program reflects the influence he has had on the world of gospel music.

Some program highlights include:

    Shea talks about his boyhood in Winchester, Ontario; recalls his early career in commercial radio during the Great Depression; and his decision to sing gospel music. During the time of his decision, at age 23, he composed I’d Rather Have Jesus, one of seven compositions to his credit. The title song, The Wonder of It All, is also one of his compositions.

  • Shea recalls his early experiences in broadcasting at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
  • Rare footage of the first Billy Graham Crusades in Los Angeles and London, just after World War II.
  • The Hour of Decision television program in 1952
  • Broadcast of the New York City Billy Graham Crusade in 1957, featuring the introduction of How Great Thou Art, which Shea performed 108 times -- every night for three months.
  • Shea recalls the controversial Crusades in Alabama and Vietnam during the 1960s.
  • Shea’s return to Ottawa for the Billy Graham Crusade in 1998, an event that broke all attendance records in Canada. A nostalgic visit with Shea to his home town of Winshester, Ontario.
  • The show features 30 gospel songs performed by Shea with a piano score by Kurt Kaiser.
  • Intimate interviews with evangelist, Billy Graham; his wife, Ruth Graham; musical director, Cliff Barrows; and George Beverly Shea’s wife, Karlene Shea.

The program was produced by UNC-TV and North Carolina independent producers Donna and Susan Campbell. Their other productions include, Fiddler’s Grove: A Celebration of Old-Time Music, Arthur Smith and the Crackerjaks Reunion, George Beverly Shea and Friends, and Ruth and Billy Graham: What Grace Provides.