Gospel singer: Sandi Patty

May 03, 2000


Sandi Patty

Saturday, May 6, 3 p.m.

Highland View Academy's church

10100 Academy Drive


Tickets cost $20 for rear auditorium seating; $30 general admission; $100 for the concert, dinner and a reception with Patty. Tickets are available by calling 301-739-8480, ext. 207; at Hagerstown Adventist Book and Health Food Store, 21727 Academy Terrace in Hagerstown, 301-739-3818; and at Review and Herald Publishing Association's bookstore, 55 W. Oak Ridge Drive in Hagerstown, 301-393-3000. No tickets will be sold at the door.By KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer

Gospel singer Sandi Patty has sold more than 11 million recordings and performed before audiences of thousands, but she says she prefers a more intimate setting, when you can kick off your shoes.

cont. from lifestyle

Patty will perform at Highland View Academy Saturday, May 6, at 3 p.m. as part of the school's 50th anniversary celebration.


Born in Oklahoma, Patty grew up a "PK" - that's "preacher's kid" - mostly in Phoenix and San Diego. She majored in music at Anderson University in Anderson, Ind., the town that's still her home. She started studying piano but changed to voice. Patty figured that she didn't have to go to a studio to practice; she could sing in her room. She still meets with a vocal coach several times a year.

Many of her 18 or 19 recordings were made with her family name incorrectly spelled as "Patti," so that's how she was known for many years. Her family heritage didn't mean as much to her then, Patty says. It has become more important as she got older, and she set the record - and the spelling - straight in 1993.

Patty's voice can range from a bluesy and soulful growl to soaring operatic soprano. Although she perhaps is best known in gospel and contemporary-Christian music circles, she occasionally has stepped outside the genre. She drew national attention in July 1986 when her rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" was played as part of a nationally televised tribute to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. "Mommy, that's you singing," said her then 3-year-old daughter.

"Where did this girl come from?" asked Peter Jennings of ABC News, and Patty's fans jammed the network's phone lines to let him know.

Recent recordings include "Together - From Garland To Gershwin," with Kathy Troccoli, and "Centennial Gershwin," a recording that celebrates the composer's 100th birthday. Her gospel music fans know that it's not a departure. "They see beyond the music. They see the person, and they stretch with you a little bit," she says.

Patty, who has five Grammys, 39 Dove Awards and a collection of platinum and gold albums, keeps her touring schedule to a couple of weekends a month. Those are the weekends that her four children from her first marriage spend with their father. At home with Patty in Anderson are her husband, Don Peslis, his three children, and Sam, their adopted son. Sam was the inspiration for "Sam's Rainbow," a children's book Patty wrote and dedicated to "the very special children who come into our lives."

Patty, 43, says she is very "pro-life," yet she doesn't think we can keep yelling at moms - "Don't kill your babies" - without giving them options. One option is adoption, something Patty takes very personally. Her husband also was adopted as a child. Without that option, two people who are very special wouldn't be in her life, Patty says.

"Put down the signs and pick up the babies," Patty recommends, and she's done just that.

Her entire family enjoys watching the WB-network television show "7th Heaven," and Patty is scheduled to appear in an episode set to air Monday, May 8. When she told producers that her kids liked the program, they were invited to be extras on the set. Patty doesn't think they realized she was talking about eight children, but all were welcomed. They range in age from 4 to 16, including three 12-year-olds. "They are the joy of my life," Patty says.

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