Shelby is great voice for community

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Well, I guess, next thing, we will hear is that Alvin Shelby is starting up his own art appreciation/music appreciation building for the under-privileged and the gifted throughout the Miss-Lou. Smile.

The reason that Clarence Anderson Jr. and I wanted to write about Alvin is not just because he’s a dear and dependable friend.

But he is one that’s not a politician, an elected or appointed official, but his works and presence are felt throughout the Miss-Lou. He is alive, he is gifted with musical abilities and could be anywhere in the world, but “No,” he cast his lot right here in the oldest city on the Mississippi and we pause to say, “Thank You.”

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I know first hand how he has taken off and traveled with me and my family to West Virginia so that I could sing for my son Jarrod’s wedding.

How when I recorded, he was the stick that stirred the gospel CD, which I think was one of the greatest CDs recorded titled, “The Old Time Way.” He has truly come to my rescue whenever he could and when I asked. Now he is taking “Little Bear,” Clarence Anderson Jr., under his wing. Clarence will probably be the next super star gospel vocalist in our community.

He has taken the musical attributes and styles of so many and he brings a very refreshing and rare style to the gospel arena.

Alvin has formed and started up so many choirs and now he is at it again.

I had the opportunity to be present at Pilgrim Baptist Church on the fifth Sunday of last month and personally witnessed the angelic voices of the Cathedral High School First Gospel Choir. It was delightful, and the standing ovation they received was well deserved.

Saturday’s performance led by Alvin Shelby showcased a youth praise explosion, when the Cathedral High School choir joined with the Washington Kids (The Sam Cook Sound) and T.J. Warren. All of our kids are not bad and in trouble.

Alvin, glad that we are alive during this time in history. Glad to have known you and worked with you on musical projects. Glad that we are able to say a “good word” about you while you can hear it. Thanks for giving back and helping so many of us to look good when we perform. I will never forget your words, “You can set the table, but the performer has to sing the words.” Smile.

So, on behalf of countless numbers who have been touched, blessed and enriched by your musical mind and hands, we say thanks.

George F. West Jr.

Natchez resident