By SHELLEY TERRY - email@example.com
HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP —
Sandi Patty is excited about coming to Ashtabula County.
The contemporary Christian artist and author wants her fans to know she will share her faith in words and music at the upcoming Ashtabula County Concerts of Prayer Breakfast at Spire Institute.
“As people gather together and pray and focus on the good things in our lives, it doesn’t make the bad things go away, but it over shadows the bad because of the good we are focusing on,” said Patty, 55, during a phone interview Wednesday from her home in Oklahoma City. “The key is to focus on prayer.”
During the prayer breakfast, Patty will share her spiritual convictions and attempt to spread a lot of joy, she said. This show, like many others Patty has performed during her 35-year career, will mix music and song with entertainment and encouragement.
A boxed breakfast and beverage will be served, as well as fellowship and prayer, beginning at 7 a.m., doors open at 6 a.m. at Spire Institute. Tickets are $12. Seating will be open seating in chairs on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Born in Oklahoma City, Okla., Patty was born into a musical family.
“My father was the minister of music at our church,” she said. “I started singing in church when I was 2.”
She then joined her brothers in a singing group and sang at churches across the country, including Phoenix, Ariz. and San Diego, Calif., where the family moved because of her father’s job.
After high school, she studied voice and conducting in college. While studying at Anderson University in Anderson, Ind., she recorded commercial jingles, including one of Juicy Fruit gum. Her reputation as a performer and studio singer grew during the late 1970s, and that’s when she contacted well-known Christian musicians Bill and Gloria Gaither.
“Traveling with them was such joy,” she said. “It was incredible.”
Patty said she learned so much from them, including how to perform in front of an audience.
Patty recorded her first album and her career skyrocketed with hits such as, “The Gift Goes On,” “In the Name of the Lord,” and “We Shall Behold Him.”
Today, “We Shall Behold Him,” remains one of her favorites to sing.
“It has done more for me personally and professionally,” she said. “It always has been a favorite.”
Throughout her career, Patty garnered five Grammy awards four Billboard Music Awards, three platinum records, five gold records, and 11 million units sold. She is the most awarded female vocalist in contemporary Christian music history, with 40 Dove Awards. She was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and as an Indiana Living Legend in 2007. She has released more than 30 albums., including her latest Dove Award winning album, The Edge of Diving in 2010. Her debut full-length symphonic pops album “Broadway Stories,” conducted by Maestro Jack Everly, was released in 2011.
The Rev. Dr. Stephen Long of First Presbyterian Church in Ashtabula said it’s very exciting to have a performer like Sandi Patty at the Prayer Breakfast.
“We like to try to get speakers that people would know and speakers that have something positive to say,” said Long, who has been on the prayer board for 20-plus years.
And while Patty’s career is rooted in the gospel music industry, she recently expanded outside the genre, performing with symphonies across the country.
In addition, she has written several books, including the bestseller, “Broken on the Back Row.”
Fans may ask, “When does she have time for herself?”
Patty says now that her children are grown, she can spend about one-third of her time on the road speaking and performing. The remainder of the time is spent at home with her husband, Don, and their family.
“He’s a musician, too,” she said. “We have a blended family with eight children, ages 28 to 17.”
The youngest child plays high school baseball so when Patty is home, she enjoys watching him play ball, she said.
Believe it or not — she also likes cleaning and cooking.
To order Prayer Breakfast tickets go to www.iTickets. com/events/ 292539, click on the “Place Order” button and follow the directions given. If you need further assistance, call 1-800-965-9324. Tickets are $12. Payment can be made by credit card. Print tickets and bring them to the breakfast. When ordering on-line, indicate if there’s a need for special seating.
Doors open at 6 a.m. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m. Spire Institute is at the northeast corner of Route 534 and Interstate 90. Call 440- 417-5713.