A retired schoolteacher and a musician since 1971, Grier "GB" White has partnered with artists, musicians, his church and other organizations to release a new CD called "Feed HIS Sheep."
White says all money from sales of the CD will benefit two nutrition centers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A trip to DR Congo in 2005, with his wife and other members of the Lewes Presbyterian Church, has proven to have a lasting impression on White's family.
"During a very eye-opening experience on our trip to Congo, which focused around the lack of access to such things as medical care, food security, and nutrition, we were able to meet Dr. Cecile DeSweemer and Dr. Jean Lumbala Muamba, who are part of an organization called the Friends of Butoke," said White.
In 2005, White said, he learned the infant mortality rate was extremely high; 24 percent of children born would not reach their sixth birthday. During the trip, the Lewes church met with the Christian Medical Institute of the Kasai, which offers community health programs among other services, regardless of ones' financial status or inability to pay, White said.
"Needless to say, this trip was very moving for me and my wife," he said.
White, a Funster for more than 25 years, has always had a passion for music and music theory; beyond that, he said he truly values relationships he has developed with musicians, artists and the community.
Around Christmas 2010, White began piecing together new lyrics as they came to him. The following year, White wrote three songs on Valentine's Day weekend. Little did he know these songs would lead to a much larger purpose and cause.
"Most nights I would not be able to sleep very well. I began to have these ideas, and lyrics would come into my head during the night, so I made sure to write them down to make sure I did not forget," he recalled. "I never sat down with the intention of writing a song, but rather I was given the strength, ideas and foundation to start working on this project by God."
White said scripture in the Bible and his life experiences guided his songs, and by the middle of 2012, he was ready to begin recording.
White teamed up with various local artists and musicians, as well as producer Martin LeMaire, who owns Attune Studio in Lewes, to help create something special.
"Having the opportunity to work with so many tremendously talented artists from the area, many of whom I have known prior to this project, was truly a blessing," White said. "I have to say, there were points during our studio sessions where I was brought to tears, not only because of the pure beauty of the sound but the pure joy of creating something with such a strong significance."
The CD also gave White an opportunity to sing vocals with son Keith and to record with Simon Ntumba, a presenter for the Congo Mission Network. Ntumba read scripture in his native language of Tshiluba, forever preserving a vocal recording of a rarely used language. Buz Hughes, a pastor at the Lewes church, read scripture in English, forging a scriptural bond between two nations, White said.
The CD was completed in March 2018, with all but one song's lyrics and music written by White, who insisted the lyricism, melodies, instruments, and meaning would have not been possible without the guidance of God, and the contributions and passion of everyone involved.
On June 22, White received 1,000 copies of his CD in the mail and his wife documented the whole experience.
"Feed HIS Sheep" has since sold 100 copies in less than a month, and White has also received direct donations toward the two nutrition centers in DR Congo.
"There are stories behind every song, as this is truly a collection of songs of faith and conviction. We need to start shedding light on the people who are being overlooked. This collection of music can be enjoyed by people of all walks of life," White said. "Ask not what God can do for you, but what you can do for God."
For information, go to feedhissheep25-40.com.
Digital copies are available on CD Baby.
White can be reached at feedHISsheep25.firstname.lastname@example.org.