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Christian artist performs at Maryland Theatre

Fans travel from Baltimore to hear sounds of Grammy-winning Phelps

Fans travel from Baltimore to hear sounds of Grammy-winning Phelps

October 24, 2005|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

erinc@herald-mail.com

The quiet boy in the back whispered, "Praise, Jesus."

The older woman up front tapped her foot to the rhythm of the fiddle.

Then, David Phelps emerged on stage and brought the nearly 1,000 people gathered Sunday night at The Maryland Theatre to their feet.

Phelps, a Grammy-winning Christian music artist, is known for an adventurous style and stunning voice.

Frank Protokowicz and his wife, Ruth, said they had heard only one of Phelps' songs when they decided to drive from their home in Baltimore to see Sunday's performance.

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"The lyrics are something like, 'Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ...' and it's about a guy on an airplane sitting next to an agnostic. It's just so different," Ruth said. "His voice, it's incredible."

The couple said they would not be disappointed if Phelps didn't perform "End of the Beginning," the only song they know. They wanted to hear more of his music.

Dorothy Paugh, also of Baltimore, said it was that song, released in 2001, that led her to Phelps' music. She heard the song about one year ago on the radio.

"I thought it was really good," she said. "He has really good lyrics."

It's the lyrics and the overall message that keeps Allan Wilson, of Waynesboro, Pa., listening to Phelps.

"It's something the family can go to," Wilson said. "It is a Christian message."

Wilson's wife, Linda, his 16-year-old son, Billy, and his brother-in-law, Jim Ressler, were with him at the show. Wilson said Billy found one of Phelps' CDs in a Christian music store a few years ago and introduced Phelps' music to his family.

Wilson said as a singer, he is a bit jealous of Phelps' voice. "I'm jealous of his range," Wilson said. "He really nails it."

The Wilsons purchased Phelps' music when he was with the multiplatinum-selling and Grammy-winning Gaither Vocal Band. Phelps joined the band in 1997, then left to pursue solo work. He released his third solo album, "Life is a Church," in September.

Sherry Kibler, of Hagerstown, and her friends have seen Phelps perform before. About one month ago, they took a Christian cruise to Mexico and the Florida Keys, and Phelps was a performer on the ship. They also saw him perform with the Gaither Vocal Band.

Emma Henry of Hagerstown also had seen Phelps before and said she was looking forward to another performance. She said Phelps is a great performer and she was a fan of his work both with the band and solo.

"I just like him," Henry said. "I just like him, period."

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