The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Dwight Wagner approaches life with a relentless optimism.
“There’s so much negativity in this world,” said the retired Dick Dowling Elementary principal. “I want whatever I do to be positive.”
Wagner plans to share some of his enthusiasm on Saturday, Feb. 16, when he performs songs from his gospel album “Blessings,” at the Woodrow Wilson Auditorium. The album — his first full-length EP — is the result of six years’ worth of effort and dedication.
“I’ve been working on this particular project since 2007,” Wagner said. “It’s been a real labor of love, but I’m thankful to God I finally got it completed.”
The theme of “Blessings” is self-explanatory, Wagner said.
“The whole point is that all of us have them,” he said. “We all have challenges, but if we sit and reflect, we realize there’s so much to be thankful for.”
“Blessings” is a fusion of traditional hymns — such as “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Walk in Jerusaleum” — and original songs penned by Wagner. One of his favorites in the latter category is an uplifting paean to courageous women, “What Do You Say to a Lady?” The song was inspired by the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I was asked to write it in honor of Coretta Scott King when she came to Port Arthur,” Wagner said. “I sang it to her, and she seemed to really enjoy it — she even came over and embraced me after. That’s something that will always stay with me.”
While Wagner’s songs are not always rooted in scripture, he does try to keep his lyrics family friendly.
“I am a Christian, so a lot of the songs I sing have the word ‘Jesus’ in them,” he said. “But even if I don’t sing a song with the word ‘Jesus,’ I want it to be something that He will approve of.”
Wagner said that he hopes the audience leaves his concert with buoyed spirits.
“I hope they will be inspired,” he said. “My goal is for them to get a little joy and laughter.”
The concert begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but copies of Wagner’s album “Blessings” will be on sale for $10.