Vicksburg’s William Michael Morgan entertains residents at Heritage House

Published 10:05 am Monday, December 26, 2016

In his career, recording artist and Vicksburg native William Michael Morgan has performed before many audiences, but perhaps none were more enthusiastic than the small audience he performed for at Heritage House Nursing and Retirement Center.

Morgan, who is in town visiting friends and family during the holidays, performed a selection of traditional country tunes for a group of about 20 residents Thursday afternoon. It was a performance greeted with excited applause by his audience.

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“He said he wanted to come by while he was in town and play some songs for the residents,” said his mother, Pam, who is a nurse at Heritage House. “I said, I’d asked them and see what we can come up with.”

“My mom and I were talking about it,” Morgan said. “I guess she put the idea in my head. But I like coming here. Everyone’s so happy everywhere I go, I see smiles. I’ve never seen an upside down smile.”

His repertoire for his performance was simple.

“They like the same music I like,” he said, “Traditional country. People like Merle Haggard and George Jones.”

The setting for this special concert wasn’t the Grand Ole Opry or a large auditorium, but the center’s dining room, where the audience gathered; some in wheelchairs and others walking in.

“Is this where they’re going to have the country music?” one lady asked as she entered the room.

Morgan sat down and before playing spent time talking with his audience.

“I don’t think you know my mama,” he said. “Yes, you do.”

When the audience laughed, he asked then, “Tell me some stories.” The request brought out a few comments.

As he began talking about his favorite artists, one lady told him, “play a George Strait song,” leading to a performance of the Strait song, “The Chair.” Other songs followed, “Silver Wings” and “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard, “Seven Spanish Angels” by Willie Nelson, and music by George Jones.

As he performed, some residents tapped their feet. All listened intently. Members of the staff watching the performance caught it on video with smart phones.

After the performance, Morgan talked with the residents, posed with them for pictures and signed autographs.

“We’re very excited he came today,” Heritage House administrator Joyce Hubbard said. “We were looking forward to it, and the residents loved it.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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