Friday, October 8, 2010

Lessons from the Beloved Queen of Gospel Albertina Walker (1929-2010)

Albertina Walker, who passed away Friday, October 8, 2010, was always a class act.  Yes--she dressed beautifully and carried herself the way "The Queen of Gospel" should. But the classiest thing about her is that she leaves a legacy of sharing, caring, and keeping it moving!

She created one of the greatest gospel groups in history, The Caravans featuring  Dorothy Norwood, Shirley Caesar, Cassietta George, James Cleveland, Inez Andrews, Delores Washington and others.  When she added most of these now legendary artists, they were relative unknowns.  Pastor Caesar was still a teenager!

Each singer added a unique layer to the group that some have called the most star-studded ensemble ever assembled, recording such classics as "Lord, Keep Me Day by Day," ""Sweeping through the City," "Oh Mary Don't You Weep," and many more.


But Albertina Walker was far more than the Grammy, Stellar and other awards could ever indicate. Here are a few lessons from her spectacular life:

1) Share.  We're all in this together, so there is enough room for everyone to shine. Ms.Walker seemed to know that no matter who was on the mic (Norwood, Cleveland, Ceasar, Andrews),  if the audience was having a good time and if God was getting the glory, that was all that mattered.

2) Care.  She began a scholarship foundation in 1988, and according to her website, she distributed more than $50,000 to students. How terrific for these young people to see someone do more than sing about reaching out to others!

3) Keep it moving. After the Caravan years, Ms. Walker when on to record great songs as a solo artist. including "I Can Go to God in Prayer" and "Spread the Word." But when the time was right in 2006, she and her musical friends, women of a certain age whom she still called "The Girls," went into the recording studio and got on the road one more time. The result was the hit CD, "Paved the Way."

This is a great day to celebrate her life and take a page from her lesson book! 

Click here to hear hear the last hit, "Paved the Way."

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