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5-3-05 Memories of the Good Old Days!

Gainesville Times:  Eva Mae has been performing for more than 83 years. At four, she was playing the piano and singing at the revival meetings conducted by her father, the Rev. H.L. Whittington. At 17, she caught the eye of a traveling singer named Urias LeFevre. The rest, as they say, is history.  

  Eva Mae LeFevre- "Queen of Gospel Music"

AVOC

 

April 24, 2005

 

Memories of the Good Old Days!

 

By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.

 

From time to time, I read columns by Harris Blackwood in the Gainesville Times.  His April 23, 2005, column on Gospel Queen Eva Mae LeFevre brought back many memories of my youth and young adulthood in the Georgia of the 40s, 50s and 60s.

 

I am the first to say that I do not want to go back to picking cotton and living without air conditioning in Georgia in July and August.  However, I do admit to more than a little nostalgia about many of the experiences and cultural activities of the 40’s and 50’s in the South.

 

It was a time of watermelon cuttings, ice cream socials, street dances, gospel singings, REA meetings, revivals, barbecues and much more.   Gospel singings were popular and then Television came along in the early 50s and that brought much entertainment into our homes. 

 

 The LeFevres ca 1960s

 

My family and I watched the LeFevres on Television for several years.  Eva Mae could really play the piano. 

 

My family attended a number of barbecues and revivals with much singing.  I often think about my youth at Union Christian Church and hearing Mr. Bud, Mrs. Angie Bell, &  A. P. and others singing “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”.  They sang loud and with emotion. The songs and music is burned into my memory and psyche.   I have some records and C Ds of those songs and from time to time like to listen to them.  It is a time of memories and reflection on a simpler time.

 

Political rallies, weddings and funerals would bring a gathering along with food and music.   In some ways, our young people of today miss out on a lot because they are not exposed to such experiences and the time to play, socialize, think and make memories.

 

You Go, Eva Mae!


4-24-05 REA Meetings, Gospel Music and the LeFevres

 

The Gainesville Times

http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/stories/20050423/opinion/97425.shtml

 

April 23, 2005                          COLUMN

 

Gospel music queen caused quite a stir on past visit, still does at 87

By Harris Blackwood

The annual meeting of the REA was a big deal when I was growing up.

The REA was actually the local Electric Membership Corporation, but my granddaddy referred to it as the REA, which stood for the Rural Electrification Administration, which was started by President Franklin Roosevelt (which he pronounced Ru-sevelt).

"Ru-sevelt called it the R (ah-ruh)-E-A and that's what I call it," said Papa.

Annual meetings were a pretty big deal in those days, they would give away "automatic" washing machines, clothes dryers and electric stoves as door prizes. Somebody had a brilliant idea, give away electric appliances at an electric co-op event.

Everybody got a little bucket filled with light bulbs. These guys were pretty savvy about ways to sell a little more electricity.

Papa and I went down to Mr. J.C. Ash's barbershop for a pre-meeting trim on that Saturday morning. We were in mid-clip when a man came bounding through the door.

"The LeFevres' bus is coming through town," he said, gasping for breath at the excitement. We got out of the barber chairs, capes and all, and stood at the plate glass window to watch the bus which carried one of the top names in gospel music out to the American Legion post where they would perform as the opening act of the annual meeting.

Eva Mae and Urias LeFevre, along with Urias' brother, Alphus, sang gospel music around the country for more than 40 years. Eva Mae and Urias' son, Mylon performed with the group before going on to success in contemporary Christian music.

At one time, they had their own television show which aired every Sunday on Channel 5. Eva Mae played that high-spirited gospel piano like nobody else. She has been called both the "First Lady" and "Queen" of gospel music. She has earned both titles in my book. ……..

The other day, I was talking to Bill Gaither, a man who has emerged as a superstar in gospel music. I was working on a story about his big homecoming concert this Friday night at the Gwinnett Arena.

He's bringing a bunch of talented people and one living legend. "Eva Mae LeFevre is going to be on the program," said Gaither. I got her phone number and gave her call.

Mrs. LeFevre will be 88 in August and we talked for quite a while. She has that lilting Southern voice that is so easy on the ear. ……..

Eva Mae has been performing for more than 83 years. At four, she was playing the piano and singing at the revival meetings conducted by her father, the Rev. H.L. Whittington. At 17, she caught the eye of a traveling singer named Urias LeFevre. The rest, as they say, is history.

"It's all I've ever done," said the Queen of Gospel Music.

She said that she is still performing concerts at churches and has a few open dates on her schedule. There is something to be said about being 88 years old, still out there singing, and looking for a gig. If you meet that criteria, you're entitled to one unabashed plug. ………..


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