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|Anthony Burger, International Gospel Pianist, dies on cruise |
Posted: Monday, March 13, 2006 |
| By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service
SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) -- Probably no other pianist in the history of Gospel music has been heard and enjoyed by as many people as piano virtuoso, Anthony Burger. He was with legendary Gospel musician, Bill Gaither, and 1800 others on a Gaither Homecoming cruise in the Caribbean on the MS Zuiderdam. One report said that he had just finished playing “Keep On The Firing Line” when he was hit by an apparent heart attack of devastating force. Efforts to revive him were not successful.
Burger was an amazing man. He fought against odds that would have defeated an ordinary person. As an eight-month-old child he was so badly burned on the grate of a floor furnace at his Cleveland, Tennessee, home that the doctors said he would never be able to move his hands. Those of us who enjoyed his masterful and dynamic presentations know that his hands moved with a rhythmic and lightning-like speed. He said, “The Lord healed my hands because He had a job for me to do.”
Releasing many albums and videos of his music that ranged in style from Big Band, Country, Jazz, Hymns, Praise & Worship and the Classical to Southern Gospel, Burger had played in some of the world’s best-known concert halls. He was featured in such venues as the Bill Gaither Homecoming Concerts, the Billy Graham Crusades, the Southern Baptist Convention, and in the largest religious gatherings. People heard him in person in many parts of the world.
Services in his honor were held at Christ Church in Nashville, TN, on March 1. A second funeral service was conducted at Clingan Ridge Baptist Church in Cleveland, TN, on March 3. Burial was in Charleston, TN. Memorial gifts to honor Anthony can be made to: Gospel Music Trust Fund/Anthony Burger, PO Box 144, Goodlettsville, TN, 37070.
Burger, age 44, is survived by his wife, LuAnn; two sons, A. J. and Austin; a daughter, Lori; his mother and father, Richard and Jean Burger; and two brothers, Randy and Clinton Burger. Millions throughout the Gospel music world mourn his passing.
A Bill Gaither Homecoming Concert is scheduled for my area, Charleston, WV, on April 7. I plan to be there, as will thousands of others. I had looked forward to hearing the celebrated and now immortal, Anthony Burger, and saying hello to him again. That will now have to wait for another day in another place. In the land where there will be no more death nor pain or sorrow or crying. In God’s heaven I will look forward to seeing and hearing Anthony play the greatest of all music on the greatest of all pianos. Millions bow in gratitude for the privilege of hearing him at least once in their lifetime.
Burger reportedly said, “I am a simple man with a majestic instrument and the power of God behind me.” That I can believe. He was simply God’s gift to all who have or will ever hear his music. |
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