“I’m just a country boy from Brunswick County”: Singing principal who wowed the world, raised near Supply
A North Carolina high school principal who surprised his seniors by singing at their graduation got a lesson on overnight fame. Video of Dr. Marcus Gause serenading the graduates at Andrews High School in High Point last weekend instantly went viral.
Gause sang the hit song, I Will Always Love You. Within hours of his a cappella performance, he was hearing from people all over the world, from as far away as Poland and Australia. He was also getting shouts out on social media from high profile entertainers such as P. Diddy and Common.
Gause was pretty famous, though, long before that viral video. The recent High Point University doctoral recipient is a big deal in Supply.
“I am a 1997 graduate of West Brunswick High School,” Gause said. “I grew up in Supply and in Johnson Town. So, that is my neck of the woods.”
The Brunswick County native says he had no idea the video would travel as far and as wide as it did. The biggest cheers came from his small-town community.
“My mother is one of eight and her mother was one of 16 so everybody in Johnson Town knows everybody,” Gause said in Zoom interview with WECT Monday. “It’s a very tight knit community. I have a whole host of cousins and we know most of all of them, so I grew up right there. My grandmother had a farm more or less and she had hogs and chickens and she gardened so for me to be now on a national platform having been raised up as a little small — little country boy, I think has brought a lot of excitement and joy to Brunswick County and that community.”
The a cappella performance of I Will Always Love You was not the first time the principal serenaded his seniors. Gause sang different songs with special meaning during graduation ceremonies over the past four years. The valedictorian at Andrews High suggested he sing the song written by Dolly Parton and made famous by Whitney Houston. He believes the video is such a hit because people all over the world are hungry to embrace anything related to love.
“Those lyrics were just so impactful from what we have gone through this year. Like I said earlier, they’ve lost a lot but my hope for them was that I hope life treats you kind. And I hope that all your dreams come true. And I hope that joy is overflowing. So, when you start thinking about those sorts of lyrics, it really just started to encompass what I hope for them as they move forward to become positive, productive citizens.”
Undoubtedly, the class of 2021 at Andrews will never forget their graduation, but the West Brunswick High School graduate says he won’t either.
Gause will be back in his hometown this weekend to sing at a wedding. He’s often asked to sing at weddings and funerals in his old stomping grounds. This visit back home, though, will be a little different for the kid who grew up to earn two master’s degrees and a doctorate. His family will talk about his newfound celebrity status, but they’ll remind him he’s a country boy who has done well.
“I’m so glad y’all are not talking to my Mama because if you did, she would say ‘he was the baddest child that I had like he just would not listen — the most stubborn child I have ever seen.’ And I think the stubbornness and a lot of the things that I learned there like hard work — don’t quit — the tenacity — my faith — all of those pieces were rooted and grounded there, and I honestly feel like all those things, including my stubbornness, is something that has proved very favorable right now.”
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