Imagine being onstage during a black gospel concert in the '60s and '70s with some of the most famous gospel groups of all time. Imagine traveling through the South during the 1960s as the only Caucasian artist in a group of African American singers. In minister Gene Viale's new memoir, "I Remember Gospel: And I Keep On Singing", Viale puts readers in his shoes, in front of the microphone where he used to stand and perform throughout the United States as part of the James Cleveland Singers. He shared the stage with some of black gospel's greatest artists including Mahalia Jackson, Rev. James Cleveland and Pastor Shirley Caesar. "I Remember Gospel" chronicles his experiences onstage, on the road and through life.
Spanning 40 years, Viale's gospel career has taken him on a journey of trial and triumph. Viale isn't black, he is of Latino-European descent, but found that gospel touched his soul, and he knew he had to be a part of it no matter what. At one point he was brave enough to perform in the South while the laws of Jim Crow were still a dangerous threat.
Beyond the exciting, powerful performances, Viale also describes his spiritual experience while touring, including being witness to healings, visions and prophecies. He writes that one of the underlying messages of his testimony is "that God orchestrates the lives of those who are willing to submit to His will." He encourages readers to forge ahead in times of hardship, when the world is intimidating and God's plan becomes lost.
"I Remember Gospel: And I Keep On Singing" is a detailed and gripping journal of an unparalleled life. Viale says his hope is that the book brings readers to a new understanding about God's presence in their lives. "I Remember Gospel" will appeal to anyone with a passion for history, culture and music. Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider with a call to do great things will find inspiration in Viale's
Minister Gene Viale was born and raised in San Francisco. He first began singing as a child in church. He joined the legendary James Cleveland Singers at the age of 17 and began traveling throughout the U.S. He received his ministry license in 1967. He has ministered for the past 45 years and been featured on eight recording projects. Some of his Jubilee Showcase TV appearances have received Emmy Awards. Viale says he is called to share the love of God with all who hear him.