Sandi Patty

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Sandi Patty
Sandi Patty cropped.jpg
Patty in 2006
Background information
Birth nameSandra Faye Patty
Also known asSandi Patti, Sandi Patti Helvering, Sandi Patty Peslis
Born (1956-07-12) July 12, 1956 (age 63)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Genres Contemporary Christian, inspirational
Occupation(s)Singer, author, pianist
InstrumentsVoice, piano
Years active1978–present
Labels Milk & Honey, Impact, Word, INO, Stylos
Associated acts Bill Gaither, Larnelle Harris

Sandra Faye "Sandi" Patty (born July 12, 1956) is an American Christian music singer, known for her wide soprano vocal range [1] and expressive flexibility, which has led music critics to dub her "The Voice". [2]

Christian music music with Christian theme

Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely across the world.

A soprano[soˈpraːno] is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types. The soprano's vocal range (using scientific pitch notation) is from approximately middle C (C4) = 261 Hz to "high A" (A5) = 880 Hz in choral music, or to "soprano C" (C6, two octaves above middle C) = 1046 Hz or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which often encompasses the melody. The soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, soubrette, lyric, spinto, and dramatic soprano.



Early life

Patty was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, into a family of musicians; her father was a minister of music, and her mother served as the church pianist. She first performed at the age of two when she sang "Jesus Loves Me" for her church, Phoenix First Church of God (Anderson, Indiana). First growing up in Phoenix, then San Diego, she and her brothers joined their parents in a performing group known as "The Ron Patty Family", and sang at churches nationwide during summer holidays. After graduating from Crawford High School in San Diego, she attended San Diego State University and Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, where she studied voice with soprano Greta Dominic, but graduated with an emphasis in conducting. While studying at Anderson University, she worked as a studio musician for area recording studios, singing background vocals and recording commercial jingles, including one for Juicy Fruit gum. [3] Her reputation as a performer and studio singer grew during the late 1970s, and it was during this time that she initiated contact with legendary Christian musician Bill Gaither.[ citation needed ]

Oklahoma City State capital city in Oklahoma, United States

Oklahoma City, often shortened to OKC, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 27th among United States cities in population. The population grew following the 2010 Census, with the population estimated to have increased to 649,021 as of July 2018. The Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a population of 1,396,445, and the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,469,124 residents, making it Oklahoma's largest municipality and metropolitan area by population.

Jesus Loves Me song

"Jesus Loves Me" is a Christian hymn written by Anna Bartlett Warner (1827–1915). The lyrics first appeared as a poem in the context of an 1860 novel called Say and Seal, written by her older sister Susan Warner (1819–1885), in which the words were spoken as a comforting poem to a dying child. The tune was added in 1862 by William Batchelder Bradbury (1816–1868). Along with his tune, Bradbury added his own chorus "Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus Loves me..." After publication as a song it became one of the most popular Christian hymns in churches around the world, especially among children.

Church of God (Anderson, Indiana)

The Church of God is a holiness Christian movement with roots in Wesleyan pietism and also in the restorationist traditions. The organization grew out of the evangelistic efforts of several Holiness evangelists in Indiana and Michigan in the early 1880s, most notably Daniel Sidney Warner. The group's most recent Yearbook states, "Our worldwide family now consists of more than 896,000 believers and nearly 7,900 churches."

Singing career

Patty recorded her first album, For My Friends, an independent effort, that landed in the hands of executives at Singspiration! records. In 1979, she was signed to Singspiration! and released her first professional record, Sandi's Song. According to the FAQ section on her website, the name on her birth certificate is Sandra Patty. [4] A printer's error on the labeling listed her name as Sandi Patti, and she used this moniker as her stage name for the next fifteen years before correcting it to Sandi Patty.

Patty's career expanded after she won her first two GMA Dove Awards in 1982 and began singing backup for Bill Gaither and the Bill Gaither Trio. She headlined her first national tour in 1984 and reached national acclaim after her rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was included during the ABC Statue of Liberty re-dedication broadcast on July 6, 1986. This exposure led to multiple mainstream television appearances including The Tonight Show , Christmas in Washington, Walt Disney's Fourth of July Extravaganza, and the 1998 Pepsi 400; the clip was frequently used on television sign-offs for the remainder of their existence. She was invited to sing the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500 in 1987–88, 1990–92, and once again in 2013.

Bill Gaither (gospel singer) American musician

William James Gaither is an American singer and songwriter of Southern gospel and Contemporary Christian music. He has written numerous popular Christian songs with his wife Gloria; he is also known for performing as part of the Bill Gaither Trio and the Gaither Vocal Band (GVB). In the 1990s, his career gained a resurgence, as popularity grew for the Gaither Homecoming series.

The Bill Gaither Trio, originally simply The Gaither Trio, was an American gospel music group, last consisting of Bill, his wife Gloria Gaither, and Michael English.

The Star-Spangled Banner National anthem of the United States

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics come from the Defence of Fort M'Henry, a poem written on September 14, 1814, by the then 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory.

In 1990, Patty's inspirational single release, "I'll Give You Peace" [5] , written by Constant Change aka Dawn Thomas and Thomas Yarbrough, was released on one of her most popular records, entitled, "Another Time, Another Place", which peaked at #2 on the Christian billboard charts. At the peak of her career, Patty's concerts were so heavily attended that she performed in often sold-out mainstream arenas and concert halls across the United States. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she averaged over 200 concerts a year and supported a staff of over 30 that managed her career. During this period of time Patty was noted, often critically, as the highest-paid singer in the Christian music industry averaging over $100,000 per appearance, largely due to massive touring and high-profile public appearances. [6]


In 1992, the news of Patty's divorce from manager John Helvering shocked the gospel music industry. The reason for the split was later revealed to be infidelity which subsequently stalled her career in the mid 1990s. It was later reported that during her marriage she had an extramarital affair with her backup singer, Don Peslis, who was also married at the time. Patty divorced Helvering in 1993 and married Peslis in August 1995. [7] Confronted with rumors of the affair just two weeks into her marriage with Peslis, Patty made a full confession to her church congregation. [8] During this time, Patty received support from national figure, Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. He referenced her in a comic strip, and Patty is quoted in a recent spiritual biography of Schulz as having been touched by the gesture. [9]

Infidelity is a violation of a couple's assumed or stated contract regarding emotional and/or sexual exclusivity. Other scholars define infidelity as a violation according to the subjective feeling that one's partner has violated a set of rules or relationship norms; this violation results in feelings of jealousy, sexual jealousy, and rivalry.

<i>Peanuts</i> Comic strip by Charles M. Schulz

Peanuts is a syndicated daily and Sunday American comic strip written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz that ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000, continuing in reruns afterward. Peanuts is among the most popular and influential in the history of comic strips, with 17,897 strips published in all, making it "arguably the longest story ever told by one human being". At its peak in the mid- to late 1960s, Peanuts ran in over 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of around 355 million in 75 countries, and was translated into 21 languages. It helped to cement the four-panel gag strip as the standard in the United States, and together with its merchandise earned Schulz more than $1 billion.


Patty slowly rebuilt her career by expanding her musical appeal which included pop concert performances with symphony orchestras including the New York Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops, and the Dallas Symphony as well as headlining and hosting the Yuletide Celebration with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2015 under the direction of Maestro Jack Everly. Patty again hosted the extravaganza in December 2017.

In both interviews and in her autobiography, Broken on the Back Row, Patty expressed remorse and took full responsibility for her past actions, revealing the steps she took in seeking the forgiveness from those that her actions most affected. [10] [11]

In 2000, Patty had a guest singing appearance at the end of a 7th Heaven episode (season 4, episode 20). She appeared in the 2006 annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. A televised performance of Sandi Patty's Yuletide Special was filmed for syndication in 2006, with other performers—including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the U.S. Air Force Reserve Band.

In 2004, Patty was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and in 2007 was awarded the GMA Music in the Rockies Summit Award.

In May 2008, Patty released her 30th studio recording, Songs for the Journey, in which she covers classic hymns of the church and other modern gospel classics. 2008 also saw the release of five separate compilation recordings of past songs taken from previous albums. In 2009, Patty received two GMA Dove Award nominations: Female Vocalist of the Year, and Inspirational Album of the Year (Songs for the Journey).

Simply Sandi, an acoustic album, is the first solo project to be released on her own record label, Stylos Records (a label with three artists—Sandi, Ben Utecht, and Heather Payne). It was released on May 5, 2009. This album includes new renditions of some of Sandi's most beloved songs including "In Heaven's Eyes", "Via Dolorosa" and "The Stage is Bare". WEA Distribution is the distributor for Stylos Records, although this album is not being released commercially.

In Fall 2009, Patty released her first live Christmas album entitled Christmas: LIVE. The album includes live performances of her past Christmas favorites including "O Holy Night", "Someday", and a duet with her husband Don Peslis in "The Prayer".


In Fall 2010, Patty released The Edge of the Divine. The album featured eight new songs, including a duet with Heather Payne. A book of the same name was also released with the sub-title "Where Possibility Meets God's Faithfulness."

In October 2011, Patty released Broadway Stories which capitalized on Patty's pops concerts popularity. From iTunes Review: "Before Sandi Patty was a Christian music star, she developed her craft by performing stage standards and pop tunes from the Great American Songbook. Broadway Stories reaffirms her mastery of such material against gorgeous backdrops provided by the 64-piece Prague Symphony Orchestra. From the first track to the last, Patty shows an easy command of the Broadway idiom, applying her formidable pipes to material worthy of her talents."[ citation needed ]

In January, 2012, Patty starred as Dolly Levi in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's world premiere concert stage version of the Broadway musical, "Hello, Dolly!" to rave reviews.

In 2012 and 2013, Patty was a judge and mentor for the Songbook Academy, a summer intensive for high school students operated by the Great American Songbook Foundation and founded by Michael Feinstein. [12]

In 2015, Patty announced her retirement from touring, citing age and a desire to spend time with grandchildren. In 2016, Patty released Forever Grateful, an album of new and re-recorded material, and embarked on a farewell tour of the same title between February 2016 through March 2017. She is currently the Artist in Residence at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City, OK.

Style and voice

Patty is known for her wide vocal range, flexibility, and emotional expression. In her early recordings, she created a trademark for herself by exploiting her range to its fullest advantage, through the "power ballad" vehicle, sweeping orchestral gestures, and a series of key modulations building to a crescendo and signature high vocal ending.

This style, often defined as "Inspirational" within the genre of Christian music, flourished throughout the 1980s, and influenced a range of additional CCM artists including Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, and Karla Worley. In later years, Patty's versatility has allowed her to expand into other styles, such as black gospel, southern gospel, classic and modern pop, and American musical theater. On her official website, she discusses her range saying "To be honest, my range has changed a bit over the years but my mom says it’s about four octaves (F below middle C to high F above double high C; F3 - F6). Really, singing high is just like screaming on pitch."

Personal life

In 2009, Patty and her family relocated from Anderson, Indiana, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She is married to Don Peslis. As a blended family, they have eight children and three grandchildren. [13]

Patty has supported charities such as Charity Music Inc. [14] [15]



  • 1985: Inspirational Favorites
  • 1989: The Finest Moments (contains one new song)
  • 1992: Hallmark Christmas: Celebrate Christmas!
  • 1994: Quiet Reflections
  • 1996: Hallmark Christmas: It's Christmas! Sandi Patty & Peabo Bryson
  • 2005: Duets
  • 2006: The Voice of Christmas
  • 2007: The Definitive Collection
  • 2008: Gospel Greats
  • 2008: Via Dolorosa: Songs of Redemption
  • 2008: A Mother's Prayer: Songs that Inspire a Mother's Heart
  • 2008: Quiet Hearts: Songs of Restful Peace for Women
  • 2008: Let There Be Praise
  • 2009: Duets 2
  • 2011: The Best of Sandi Patty from the Gaither Homecoming Series
  • 2012: The Voice of Christmas, Volume 2
  • 2012: Rarities
  • 2014: Ultimate Collection, Volume 1
  • 2014: Ultimate Collection, Volume 2


Awards and nominations

Grammy Awards

YearCategoryNominated workResult
1984 Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group "More Than Wonderful" (with Larnelle Harris)Won
Best Gospel Performance, Female The Gift Goes On (album)Nominated
1985Songs from the HeartNominated
1986Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group"I've Just Seen Jesus" (with Larnelle Harris)Won
Best Gospel Performance, FemaleHymns Just For You (album)Nominated
1987Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group"They Say" (with Deniece Williams)Won
Best Gospel Performance, FemaleMorning Like This (album)Won
1989"Almighty God"Nominated
1990"Forever Friends"Nominated
1991 Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album Another Time... Another PlaceWon
1994Le VoyageNominated
1996Find It On the WingsNominated

GMA Dove Awards

YearCategoryNominated workResult
1983 Inspirational Album Lift Up the LordWon
1984Inspirational AlbumMore Than WonderfulWon
1985 Inspirational Album Songs from the HeartWon
1987Inspirational AlbumMorning Like ThisWon
1988Song of the Year"In the Name of the Lord"Won
1989 Inspirational Album Make His Praise GloriousWon
1989Inspirational Song"In Heaven’s Eyes"Won
1989Children’s AlbumThe Friendship CompanyWon
1989Instrumental AlbumA Symphony of PraiseWon
1989Choral CollectionSandi Patty Choral PraiseWon
1991Inspirational AlbumAnother Time, Another PlaceWon
1991Pop/Contemporary Song"Another Time, Another Place"Won
1992Short-Form Music Video"Another Time, Another Place"Won
1992Children’s AlbumOpen for Business (The Friendship Company)Won
1992Inspirational Song"For All the World"Won
1994 Short-Form Music Video "Hand on My Shoulder"Won
1995Female VocalistFemale Vocalist of the YearNominated
1995Inspirational AlbumFind It on the WingsWon
1996Special Event AlbumMy Utmost for His Highest (various artists)Won
1998Special Event AlbumGod with Us – A Celebration of Christmas Carols & Classics (various artists)Won
1998 Inspirational Album Artist of My SoulWon
1999 Long-Form Music Video My Utmost for His Highest (various artists)Won
1999 Spanish Language Album Libertad de Mas (tie)Won
2002Long-Form Music VideoAll The Best...Live!Nominated
2004 Inspirational Album Take Hold of Christ Nominated
2005Inspirational AlbumHymns of Faith...Songs of InspirationNominated
2008Female VocalistFemale Vocalist of the YearNominated
2008 Inspirational Album Falling ForwardNominated
2009 Inspirational Album Songs for the JourneyNominated
2011 Inspirational Album The Edge of the DivineWon
2014Inspirational AlbumEverlastingNominated
2016Children's AlbumSweet DreamsNominated

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