The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on June 3, 1990 · Page 21
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The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee · Page 21

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Sunday, June 3, 1990
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r Moore County reapsjruit 01 metro government, 3D , , iM 3B DEATHS 6BYVISII LIST n SKCTION ?7. in? B Trffi TENNESSEAN SUNDAY, JUNE 3, 1990 I IU M iO ; lo Hi. Initiates Mive messaMe of hone in so RAY WADDLE Religion News Editor They were an unruly bunch of imprisoned murderers and burglars until a veteran musician-minister recognized their singing talent, gave them discipline, self-esteem, and now, the possibility of Music Row acclaim. The New Faith Singers, a group of a dozen inmates serving life sentences at the Tennessee State Prison, have recorded four energetic gospel-style songs for Warner Bros, with the hope of seeing its music reach a commercial audience. The unusual ensemble has overcome administrative skepticism and its members' self-doubts to stand at the brink of success because the Rev. Moses Diilard, a noted songwriter and local minister, believed in them. But the hurdles aren't all behind them. "These guys have a new hope for themselves, a message of hope, and I want to take them out into the community to share that," Diilard said Friday. Officials say it will take a miracle, or at least the governor's approval, to pull it off. Diilard plans to petition Gov. Ned McWherter to request that the New Faith Singers be transferred to the Nashville Community Service Center, a minimum-security prison, so they can periodically perform and speak at churches, schools and civic organizations. Diilard, who co-wrote a string of disco hits in the 1970s before turning to the ministry, said he is "not intimidated by the odds." "I've had to figure a way out of no way before with these guys," said Diilard, associate minister at Edgehill United Methodist Church. "I'm calling on God to open all the doors. I'm not trusting my own ingenuity." "I think the state is somewhat hypocritical to say it believes in rehabilitation and then doesn't offer cooperation on this," he added. In case the ensemble is ever a financial success, New Faith has been incorporated as a non-profit ministry so that proceeds go to families victimized in the crimes committed years ago by the singers. "I'm not going anywhere, so now I have the opportunity to give something back," said New Faith member Victor Shears, 38, the lead singer on most of the tracks, who is serving a life term on burglary charges. The New Faith Singers, which grew out of a Bible study group and rehearsals with Diilard during his regular visits to the prison since 1987, recorded four songs last month under some unlikely conditions. The state Department of Correction refused to release the inmates to record on Music Row, so Music Row came to them. Under the direction of Diilard and collaborator-producer Jesse Boyce, sound engineers built a temporary studio at the prison chapel. A couple of professional studio musicians, aided by musicians Diilard and Boyce, shuttled to the prison daily over a week's stretch to do the taping. Diilard said the odd venue did nothing to hurt the production quality of the music, which he calls "some of the best work I've been associated with in a long time." "This project became a project of the whole inmate population,:' he said. "People needed to be quiet when we were recording, and they cooperated. The whole administration contributed." The singers themselves say they are still in a state of disbelief that professionals have recorded their music, which Warner Bros, has the option of releasing. "When you're incarcerated, you have very low self-esteem about your talent," said Ira Williams, 38, the only member of New Faith Singers who has finished his prison sentence. Now a staffer at a cemetery, he was released three months ago after serving 17 years on a murder conviction. He went to the prison to do the recording last month. , "Moses saw we had talent and made us dig down deep and bring it up," he said. "They've never witnessed anything like this on Music Row. It's performed by people who've been in the storm and been down so low that only God can bring them up. It makes me move. It makes my little boy move." Co-written by Diilard, Boyce, New Faith members or other songwriters, tunes such as There's a God Somewhere and Love is the Bottom Line testify to themes of reconciliation and hope, one of the singers said. "The message is there's hope in your faith, and there are guys in this prison and their families on the outside, as well as anyone else on the street who need to hear that," said New Faith member Malika Haki, 40, who has served 18 years for aggravated assault and is not up for parole until 2031. The other New Faith Singers on the recordings are Charles Ewing and Dennis McMillan. Seven others play in the band or provide other support, including prison publicity. Diilard said the New Faith effort also represents the return of the "Dillard-and-Boyce sound" after more than a decade since they collaborated on Perfect Love Affair, Come On Dance, Dance, and other disco records. "There's a theological dimension in our sound that just wasn't there 10 years ago," Diilard said. "God is still in the recycling process. We've all been given a second chance. Inmates are not exempt from that As long as these guys are in prison, I feel I'm in prison, too. When they're not reformed, I can't be at ease." Added Haki: "We know where our strength comes from. We came to realize the God thing and the Satan thing are real, not fantasy. Moses won't let us quit, or let us get our heads too big." Life's a jprcgle ,K ? , I i', w. J, ,'A r tftut ' r f f ; - ... reyionnoge These Przewalski horses have adjusted to life at Grassmere Wildlife Park but many of the facility's other residents are taking longer to settle in. Oh dear! Where're all the deer at Grassmere? JANET BYRON Staff Writer Just three Przewalski horses and six White-tailed deer showed up for opening day at Grassmere Wildlife Park yesterday, but few of the 1,383 visitors seemed to mind. . "All we saw was the horse today," Paul Jones of Nashville, 25, said. "There were deer but they were hiding," Leath Ann Jones, 26, said. "I think it's going to be great. It's really nice that they're going to have the animals in their natural setting." I Turn to PAGE 2B, Column 4 ' ."" n 32 '" 'vr " ' ' ' ' ' if 1 lV 1 Wi- ;v- If I A -H'I 1 J If il N II - '--it ir:--! 1 S? -J yjr J tli vW-f v !:.: Li.,:.;: Delores Delvin A 5-kilometer run held yesterday to "raise consciousness" about the need for a zoo in Nashvile drew both 180 runners and a group of protesting "zoo busters," above. The Zoo Run Run kicked off at Metro Center at 8 a.m. and was organized supporters of the Zoological Society of Middle Tennessee. What ZooBoosters called a "natural habitat" for animals, zoo busters described as a "pitiful prison." vuaiw nwaiu junto s UUIUd to honor newspaper letter writers The first Neely Coble Award for "the promotion of na- writers who havent received their invitations to the bar Millions at stake triotism" will be presented at The Tennessean's 51st Three-Star Forum Banquet Friday night. The banquet honors those who, during the past 1 2 months, have written three-star letters to the editor. Those three stars are a recognition of excellence. To further recognize these contributors, two awards were created last year the Amy Crotts Award, "for exhibiting care and concern for fellow human beings," and the David Cobb Award, "for promoting the values embodied in the Bill of Rights." The Neely Coble Award recognizes yet another aspect of letter writers concerns. "An award in Neely Coble's name is a highly appropriate recognition of a leading citizen in our community," said Tennessean publisher John Seigenthaler, who will preside at the banquet "As the David Cobb and the Amy Crotts awards have encouraged our forum members to write letters on important societal themes, so will the Neely Coble Award." A self-described risk taker, Coble is founder of Neely Coble Sunbelt Truck Center. He is an active member of the Nashville business world and a strong voice in the community. ' Coble has attended the banquet frequently in the past, having written three-star letters to the editor. This year, however, he won the right to come as a contributor to the Tennessean's "Nashville Eye" column, which appears on the opposite-editorial page. This year, for the first time, those who have written "Nashville Eye" columns during the year have been invited to attend the banquet which honors the letter-writers. "Nashville Eye" was launched in March 1985; during the past year, 221 individuals wrote for it "Nashville Eye" writers who havent received their invitations to the ban quet should contact the newspaper. The first Forum Banquet to honor writers of letters to the editor was held in 1939. The banquet has been held every year since, with the exception of one year during World War II. "The older I get, the more interested I become in the welfare of this country," said Coble, who will soon be 90. "The more interested I become in politics, the more interested I become in what moves the U.S. Congress. " This year, several people will be recognized for having written award-winning letters over a period of years. Those attending the banquet for the third time become members of the "Gold Star Club," while those with 10 or more winning letters join the "Cum Laude Club." Following presentation of the awards, Tom Curley, president of USA TODAY, will speak. Curley, an Innovator in American journalism, is largely responsible for the popularity of the national newspaper. His topic will be "Opinion makers of the '90s." Concluding the evening will be the open forum, traditionally the highlight of the banquet At microphones stationed throughout the audience, letter writers have the opportunity to speak1 for two minutes or less. Amy Crotts, in her mid-90s, lives with her daughter in Clifton, Tena She attended the first banquet in 1939, and almost every one since then, missing only when she was ilL She had a three-star letter during the past year and would be eligible to attend Friday's banquet, but will be unable to do so because of poor health. The late David Cobb was a frequent letter writer and Forum Banquet guest before his death in 1988. A former WSM Radio personality, he was credited with giving Nashville its nickname of "Music City USA." B State high court to hear Franklin couple's divorce JIM EAST Staff Writer The Tennessee Supreme Court, in an unusual venture into domestic law, will hear oral arguments tomorrow in a divorce case involving adultery, perjury and millions of dollars. At issue in what could become a landmark decision is the 1988 divorce of millionaire Realtor Gordon Inman of Franklin and his wife of 28 years, Ann Inman. Gordon Inman operates Inman Realtors, is chairman of Franklin National Bank and in 1986 was one of America's largest single franchisees of Nutri-System Weight Loss Clinics. He has appealed a court of appeal ruling reversing a lower court's decision in the case. Ann Inman, who listed monthly living expenses of $ 1 1,000 in her lower court appeal, sells real estate for McArthur-Sanders, another Franklin firm. Williamson County Chancellor Henry Denmark Bell, in his December 1988 decision, awarded Gordon Inman a divorce on the grounds that Ann Inman was guilty of cruel and inhuman treatment He rejected Ann Inman's allegations that the couple had irreconci- able differences and that Gordon Inman was guilty of cruel and inhuman treatment and adultery. Bell awarded Gordon Inman $6.7 million of the couple's $8.85 million in assets and gave Ann Inman $2. 1 million, including Magnolia Hall, the couple's estate off state Route 96 in west Franklin. But the state Court of Appeals, on Oct 18, 1989, overturned Bell's decision in a ruling that increased Ann Inman's share to $3,343,430, including $360,000 in rehabilitative alimony, Inman Realtors office buildings in Franklin and Spring Hill, $300,000 in municipal bonds, $100,000 in cash and $322,230 in stocks and notes. The appeals court decision was written by Judge Hewitt P. Tomlin Jr. of Jackson, with concurrence by Judge W. Frank Crawford of Memphis and Judge David R. Farmer of Jackson. The ruling reversed Bell on every issue but one and ordered Bell to determine how much over 75 of Ann Inman's attorneys' fees should be paid by Gordon Inman. The court upheld Bell's decision not to recuse himself from the case. I Turn to PAGE 2B, Column 4 f T1 JERRY V If THOMPSON if - - - Going formal dressed in a drafty gown As the late, great Jackie Gleason often said: "How sweet it is." I've missed writing this column and it's sure sweet to once again sit down at the old keyboard and try to offer an update on where I've been and where I hope to be going. It seems like years since I've written, although it has been just over two months since my last column appeared. I wrote it from Hell, Grand Cayman Island. I feel like I've trudged through hell several times since that hot, sweaty day back in March. Two days after my family and I returned from the Caymans I went into the hospital for what my doctor and I thought would be minor surgery. I've since learned the difference between major and minor surgery. It's minor when it's done on someone else and it's major when it's you undergoing the knife. I had experienced some slight rectal bleeding so slight I might not have paid it any attention had I not had surgery in 1988 for colo-rectal cancer. Although I'd hoped the blood was from scar tissue from the earlier surgery, I had a hunch it was more serious. Unfortunately, I was right My cancer had recurred. To those who have never seen the somber look on a doctor's face when a patient is told he or she has cancer, it's almost impossible to imagine the feeling. I've seen the look and I've heard those devastating words four times now. It doesn't get any easier. It just gets more scary. After the last "minor" surgery in March, my doctor was very blunt. He pointed out that in 1988, I'd opted to gamble and have a second surgery to make sure the cancer was excised. The pathology report came back negative and I was convinced I'd whipped it But it was not to be. In March, my surgeon said he'd be willing to go along with whatever treatment I chose, but it was his recommendation I have "more formal" surgery. I had consultations with other doctors this time well-respected oncologists. They agreed with my surgeon. My best chance of a cure was "formal surgery." I'm still mystified as to why they referred to it as "formal" surgery. When I wear a tuxedo I feel formal, but I've never felt formal in those hospital gowns that tie loosely in the back and are always very drafty. After the consultations not only with the doctors but also with Linda, I decided to go formal. Formal meant I'd have extensive surgery resulting in a colostomy. I'm still adapting to this life change. With the help of Linda and nurses who come to our home two or three times a week, I'm adapting pretty well. Although I've had seven major surgeries in an 18-month period, not once have I even entertained the thought of going for anything less than a complete cure. And I'm still going for it with the unfaltering faith I'll achieve it. To many people the words "chemotherapy" and "radiation" are very frightening. To me they offer hope for a long and normal future. I had my first chemotherapy session week before last. The sessions went well. The only side effects during the five days of treatment were fatigue like I've never known and a metalic taste in my mouth that I'm sure is similar to sucking on a hubcap. It was the next week that I suffered. 1 had the fatigue, the bad taste, sores in my mouth, the nausea, the diarrhea, the loss of appetite, and just a general listlessness. I lost 1 1 pounds during that week. I was just a couple of hours away from a return to the hospital when I asked Linda to get me some of Richard Jones' barbecue. Within a hour of the barbecue sandwich I was feeling better. I've known for years good barbecue has a therapeutic effect for whatever ails a person. Now I've proved it. I start my second session of chemotherapy tomorrow. I'm not planning on it causing such serious side effects. The only one I didn't experience the first time was hair loss. At least I don't think I experienced it. But then,-how would I be able to tell? B

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