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Patty gets the 'family' rocking

May 06, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

Gospel singer Sandi Patty had people singing, clapping, laughing, swaying and praising the Lord on Saturday afternoon during a 90-minute concert at Highland View Academy.

"I feel like just one of the family here today," Patty told the audience of about 500 people who came to the school's church for the concert during alumni weekend.

Patty had people clapping and singing along right off the bat with a medley.

Later, she had about two dozen children join her on stage to sing "Friendship Company." Among them were Rebecca Robbins, 11, and her sister, Christiana, 9, of Beckley, W.Va., who thought getting to sing on stage with Patty was "cool" and "great."

The concert wiped out 3-year-old Alyssa Royster, who also joined Patty on stage. Alyssa was sleeping in her mother's arms while friend Patricia Robertson, a long-time Patty fan, discussed Patty's performance.

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After listening to Patty's recordings and concerts for 20 years, Robertson said she thought the singer's performance might have diminished after all this time. She found it hadn't.

"I felt she was even better. ... Her concerts are even more energized and totally focused on the love of God," said Robertson, a Hagerstown resident who teaches in Frederick County.

Tom and Annette Elliott had never seen Patty in concert before, but the Hagerstown couple had liked what they heard on Christian radio. After seeing her "incredible" performance live, Annette Elliott, 34, said she and her husband are big Patty fans now.

At one point, Patty told the crowd about her growing love for music and her adoration as a youth of Karen Carpenter and Barbra Streisand.

She received lots of laughs when she did her impression of both singers before thrilling the audience with an operatic performance, all to the same song - "Jesus Loves Me."

Patty was occasionally joined by friend and fellow singer Brian McSee and was accompanied by pianist Steve Potts.

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