By SHELLEY TERRY - firstname.lastname@example.org
HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP —
It could have happened in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, but it happened in Ashtabula County.
Contemporary Christian singer and author Sandi Patty performed for an hour Friday before 1,000 fans at the 22nd Annual Ashtabula County Concerts of Prayer Breakfast at Spire Institute.
“There is nothing better than to sing a prayer at a prayer gathering,” said Patty, 55, before bringing tears to many eyes and the crowd to its feet with “How Great Thou Art.”
Patty shared her spiritual convictions mixed with humor, encouragement, music and song.
“Since (Spire) is in an athletic facility, I’m counting this as my morning work out,” she said.
Patty and her husband, Don, live in Oklahoma City and they have a blended family of eight children, ages 28 to 17. She recognized high school students in the audience and prayed for them in song.
A shy child, Patty said she always found song as a way of speaking.
Born in Oklahoma City, Patty was born into a musical family. Her dad sang with a quartet, teaching her many Southern Gospel songs.
Many people in the crowd clapped and danced as Patty sang, “Operator, Get Me Jesus on the Line.” She said it’s important to share stories, allowing others to know someone has gone before you.
When Patty wrapped up the concert, she received a standing ovation and cheers for an encore. She didn’t disappoint, performing “What a Wonderful World.”
Ashtabula resident Angel Griffith said she really had a great time at the concert. She brought her mother to the show as a Mother’s Day gift.
“I used to listen to her when I was a teenager,” she said. “Will I show my age if I said I had her albums?”
Tami Ring of Pierpont said, “I love her songs.”
Although she started singing in her father’s church at age 2, Patty’s career got its start while at college. That’s when 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.
Patty has said many times how much she learned from watching them perform.
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.”
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, who’s been on the prayer board for more than 20 years, praised God’s name and asked a blessing on everyone who attended the event.
The Rev. Glen Warner, who was instrumental in bringing Patty to Ashtabula County, deemed the concert a success by the many compliments he and the prayer board received after the concert.
“Dreams come true,” he said.