Soloist to receive Special Merit Award at the 2011 Grammys

The soloist will be recognized for his life's workBy Tucker Harrington

While some of the world's biggest names in music are gearing up for next year's Grammy Awards, one soloist just learned that he will be winning a lifetime achievement award for his work.

George Beverly Shea, a longtime soloist with the Billy Graham Crusade, learned last week that he will be honored with a Special Merit Award as part of the 2011 Grammy Awards from the Recording Academy.

Shea will be turning 102 years old the week before he receives the recognition award, making him the oldest living individual to be honored by the Academy. Despite his age, Shea is still performing in public, and frequently sings at Christmas concerts near his home base in Asheville, North Carolina.

"I was surprised to receive the call from The Recording Academy president before Christmas and am honored for the recognition," Shea said. "The music has been for God’s glory."

In addition to Shea's recognition, Julie Andrews, Roy Haynes, Dolly Parton, the Juilliard String Quartet and the Ramones are co-recipients of the prize.