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Interview: Sandi Patty Brings Her CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS Tour to Grand Rapids along with Grand Rapids Symphony!

One night only Thursday, December 22, 2022, at 7:00 PM at DeVos Performance Hall!

Interview: Sandi Patty Brings Her CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS Tour to Grand Rapids along with Grand Rapids Symphony! "The Voice" herself, Miss Sandi Patty winner of five Grammy® awards, and four Billboard Awards joins Grand Rapids Symphony for a one-night-only special Christmas concert Thursday, December 22, 2022, at 7:00 PM at DeVos Performance Hall. "Christmas Blessings" will feature classics such as "Silent Night," "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "O Holy Night, and Winter Wonderland." Sandi, as well as her pianist and musical director Steve Potts, join the Grand Rapids Symphony and Assistant Conductor Duo Shen for this must-see event! We got to talk to Sandy ahead of her stop in Grand Rapids about music, career influences, as well as what we will hear in Grand Rapids.

Broadway World Michigan: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us.

Sandi Patty: It is my pleasure, thanks for having me.

First of all, let's start with my earliest memory of your music the Friendship Company.

Sandi: A lot of those kids who were in the Friendship Company are now on Broadway, doing music at Churches, and are School Teachers. I hear from them now through social media saying how they were in Friendship Company when they were little. Funny story: when my first Grand Child was born 9 years ago I wanted him to have the Friendship Company but I couldn't find it because it was out of stock, So I went on Amazon and bought "The Friendship Company" For my Grandson. Which is now in the vault, and available on vinyl.

I would also like to thank you for what I feel was an influence on what is one of my favorite hymns of all times "How Majestic is Your Name" by Michael W Smith. You are one of the voices that are most consistently known with that song, can you tell us about how that came about that you were involved in that song, as you have recorded it as a single and in various medleys?

Sandi: You know, I love that song and I love that songwriter Michael W. Smith. When I was making I believe it was the project "Lift Up The Lord" Greg Nelson was my Producer and he came up to Indiana where I was living, and we were playing cassettes of different songs from different songwriters and he said, "I got this little song from this brand new songwriter from West Virginia. It's nice, kinda different and I think you'll like it." He played that for me and it was like this is very cool, so we recorded it and put it on several projects and medleys. That was my first introduction to Michel W. Smith then of course through the years we've had the chance to become friends and so appreciative of his music.

Speaking of Michel W. Smith, you have not only sung with him but also with so many other artists that are also well known Kathy Troccoli, and Gathers: What are some memories or even things you learned working with them?

Sandi: Yes especially Bill and Gloria Gather, I got to be on the road with them, I was a backup singer for 5 years and I was just mesmerized at how they could make an arena filled with 25,000 people feel like a living room. People called it a concert, but I considered it getting to have a master class with them every night. I would just watch and ask questions; they were very gracious and didn't mind. Well we consider ourselves called by God, and I consider myself very much called by God, I work for the people who buy the tickets, bought the project, send a kind email, and who follow me on social media. Those are the people I work for. Everything begins with "Am I connecting" that is the biggest piece of takeaway for me that I have implemented throughout my whole career.

They performed a tribute to you in 2011 at the 42nd Dove Awards, featuring female artists inspired by your career, including others that have made quite impressive careers of their own including Francesca Battistelli and Britt Nicole who have both performed locally. How does it feel to continue influencing gospel music even today?

Sandi: You know those girls that did that, it was such a surreal moment to hear each of their stories about when my music first intersected in their lives. I consider it an honor to mentor some of these younger artists coming up behind me in this season of my life. It is one of the greatest privileges of my life to get to do that and to get that moment and even have the audience sing along with those sweet ladies, it was a special evening truly!

With over 35 albums, how do you find yourself keeping the music fresh, and giving it a little something different?

Sandi: I think any song that has been written, I'm not a songwriter but can say this about the amazing songwriters, the songs that connect the most with people are the ones that have been born out of their (songwriters) own journey. When I sing these songs, I think our journey is not stagnating it continues. So I've sung the same lyric, but they have looked different in the different seasons of my life. It's still the story of the current moment of what's happening in my journey, I place inside each of the lyrics and tell the story from that point.

You are so blessed to have a great symphony and music ministry at your church, how does it feel getting to sing with a symphony and choir, even when you are not out on tours?

Sandi: We are very blessed at our Church in Oklahoma City, Crossings Community Church. Under this umbrella of Crossings Church, we do have 3 different styles of services: We have a simple and sacred which my Husband Don is the pastor with Liturgy and song from the Hymnal. We have a service that is more contemporary and more band driven, then the service I get to participate in more than any other is in the Sanctuary with the orchestra every week, and choir with 150- 250 people and it is very special to get to do that. My particular job at the church is to work with the vocal team of 8-10 singers whom we require a little more in understanding music, reading it and singing in key, and helping them tell the story from our journey.

I have to tell you my very favorite thing to do is getting to sing with a live orchestra and I'm so excited about Grand Rapids for many reasons. I've got to work with the symphony several times but there is nothing more terrifying but beautiful than 70 people including myself onstage creating music simultaneously.

You played a show with the Grand Rapids Symphony in 2014, do you have any memories from the show, and of the Grand Rapids Symphony?

Sandi: My takeaway is always how prepared a symphony is. I can say this because I perform in a lot of different places, but the symphony world makes a guest artist feel like a million bucks. So gracious and accommodating. My favorite part is the rehearsal because it's the only time I feel like I get to connect with the orchestra. Usually, I do my rehearsals turned facing the orchestra and the maestro the whole time. Because during a concert it's all about the audience, but in the rehearsal, I love being able to catch people's eyes because the arrangements are so beautiful and to get to hear the strings play and some of the reactions they get the first time, it makes me very proud of the arranger's that I've got to work with over the years.

What are you looking the most forward to about returning to Grand Rapids?

Sandi: It feels like Christmas up there, there can be snow. My other favorite thing in Grand Rapids and Michigan, there is such a musical crowd. So if you said sing this Christmas carol with you, you will have the whole audience singing along without much coaxing, and I do love that so much! People enjoy Christmas music, and I know with the Grand Rapids Symphony it's going to be an evening of beautiful music, well-done music, and will hopefully feel like we are in the living room.

What are some songs we might hear, and do you have a favorite song in the setlist you always have to sing or enjoy singing the most?

Sandi: "Oh Holy Night", how can you do Christmas without "Oh Holy Night"? Both of my parents were musical growing up, my dad was a tenor and he would sing "Oh Holy Night" and I remember thinking as a kid I can't wait till I'm old enough to sing "Oh Holy Night". So that always brings good and special feelings for me. "Mary Did You Know" and "The Prayer", which my son Johnathan will be joining me on in Grand Rapids, and that makes it so special.

Why should people attend the Blessings tour?

Sandi: On the 22 of December if we all do this well, a lot of the work is already done for Christmas. Presents were bought and wrapped, food was bought, and stores started to close. So it will be a great night just to settle in and let the spirit of Christmas hug you deeply that night.

How would you describe the Blessings tour and concert in your own words?

Sandi: This year we are doing 7 concerts, with Grand Rapids being the very last one. Even though each venue of the tour will present a different feel of the music ranging from full orchestra to my band, to a piano all the music will be a celebration of what this season means. It's what makes this season what it is and brings all those Christmas Blessings.

Thank You so much for taking the time to speak with us! This is something I've looked forward to since the announcement came out that you were coming back to perform with the Symphony.

Sandi: Thank You and look forward to seeing you in Grand Rapids!

Sandi Patty's Blessings Tour with the Grand Rapids Symphony comes to DeVos Performance Hall December Thursday, December 22, 2022, at 7:00 PM. For tickets and more information, visit https://www.grsymphony.org/sandi-patty

Connect with Sandi Patty on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Sandi.Patty.Music, on Twitter at https:@SandiPattyP, on Instagram at instagram.com/sandipattyp/, and online at https://www.sandipatty.com/

Connect with Grand Rapids Symphony on Facebook at facebook.com/grsymphony, on Twitter at @grsymphony, on Instagram at instagram.com/grsymphony, and online at https://www.grsymphony.org/



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