Wilson enjoys the sweet sounds of music

Published 12:44 am Monday, December 3, 2007

VIDALIA — Betty Jean Albert Wilson’s family surrounds itself with music.

Audiotapes line one wall of the living room at the Wilsons’ 400 Cedar St. house. Speakers loom large in the corner, and a keyboard is covered with a blanket to keep off dust.

On another wall, Betty Jean Wilson’s parents smile from frames. Those two are the inspiration for the retired teacher’s love of gospel and church.

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“I enjoy all kinds of classical music, and I love country, but gospel is my pride,” she said. “It just sooths my inner soul. It fills that empty void.”

Wilson grew up in Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church. She never knew a week without music and God.

“My father was the deacon of our church, then supervisor of Sunday school,” she said. “He instilled in us a desire to always go to church. My mother sang in the choir.”

Wilson herself has sung in the church choir since she can remember. Close to 30 years ago, she met and married a man who loved gospel as much as she did.

Like his wife, Karl Wilson has always been surrounded by gospel and church. The tapes that line the living room wall are his.

“I’ve got stuff that goes way back to the 1960s,” he said. “Stuff you can’t get anymore. I like it all. It’s a tradition. It’s a part of me, something I really like.”

Wilson also does his part to raise a joyful noise in church.

“I like that type of work in church,” he said. “One of the first sectors of people we hear in church is our choir. Our duty is to bring in the spirit, get everybody motivated and get ready for the Word when the preacher delivers it.”

The couple has passed on their love of music to their sons, who both attend college. The keyboard waits for David Tyrone Wilson to come home, and the speakers belong to Karl Wilson Jr., who plays the bass guitar.

“They sing like angels,” their mother beams. “When they sing, your heart melts. There’s not a dry eye in the church.”