Sandi Patty Reminisces on “Farewell Tour”

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

SP 1000She's won Grammy Awards, performed on national television and sold 12 million albums.
But before the spotlight and media came calling, singer Sandi Patty spent plenty of time in West Michigan.

"Grand Rapids was the home of my very first record company," recalled Patty during a phone interview from her Oklahoma City home. "I met some of the most incredible musicians there."

Her first national record album was "Sandi's Song," released in 1979. It was produced by Phil Brower for the former Singspiration label owned by then Grand Rapids-based Zondervan. It's also where she met arranger-composer David Clydesdale, with whom she has worked throughout her career.

Now, fast-forward to 2016. The award-winning singer is ready to pull the plug on the life of a traveling performer and has embarked on her "farewell tour." (The tour comes to Holland on Oct. 23 - see details below).

"I love the work and I love the people," said Patty, who turned 60 this year and is a grandmother of three. "The traveling is what gets to me from time to time. But I'll still be involved in music one way or another."


The singer's most recent album sets the stage for her farewell: "Forever Grateful" contains a mix of old and new favorites from the singer, including several she co-wrote.
One tune from the past is "Love in Any Language."

"I sang that for many years, and I wanted to do it again and make it really special." The singer invited several singing 'friends' into the studio to help with the new version. Among them, Natalie Grant and Russ Taff and Nicole C. Mullen.

There are also several medleys which offer musical samples of her many  inspirational songs.

The farewell tour is a kind of Sandi Patty scrapbook. Three of the eight adult children in her blended family are singing with her, as well as her husband, a church associate pastor. "One of the kids is the tour manager and another handles things in the lobby,"
she said of the family enterprise. "I used to have to say goodbye to them when I went on the road, so it makes it really special."

There are also some well chosen videos during the two and a half hour evening. They may factor in her trademark "power ballad" duets with Larnelle Harris ("More Than Wonderful" and "I've Just Seen Jesus").

"By the time we finish (the concert) we'll have covered more than 50 or 60 songs," she said of selections from her 30+ albums.


Patty's tour schedule through the decades has always featured stops in West Michigan.
This writer first saw her back in the early 1980s, opening for the Imperials at the old Knollcrest Fieldhouse at Calvin College.

Here's a partial list of other of her area concerts through the years: She has performed in the former Welsh Auditorium in Grand Rapids (1985 and again in 1989), a rain-shortened concert at the Lowell Showboat (1993), a Pops concert with the Grand Rapids Symphony (1994, and a Christmas pops concert in 2014), Sunshine Church in Grand Rapids (1997 and at least one other year), Fair Haven Ministries in Hudsonville (1999 and 2000), Maranatha Bible Conference in Muskegon (2003), Frauenthal Center, Muskegon (2005) and Sandy Pines Chapel, Dorr (2009).

Her farewell tour concert is coming to Christ Memorial Church in Holland, where she's been before (2008).

But her very first Grand Rapids concert was a roller skating rink! "People would skate to music and then at the end of the night they'd come to one end of the rink and I'd do a little concert," she remembered (although she couldn't recall the name of the rink).


Although she's recorded hundreds of songs, there are several titles that seem to resurface again and again. She says during different seasons of her life she comes back to the chorus "In The Name of the Lord" that she co-wrote with Gloria Gaither. "It's a prayer I have prayed for myself and over my kids," she said of the lyric.

Another is one of her early trademark ballads, "We Shall Behold Him" – a song the Gaithers encouraged her to step forward and sing during her days as a background vocalist.

"That's a song that opened a lot of doors," she noted.

Meanwhile, Patty is pleased with her West Michigan memories. "Just thinking about that area as we were talking...kind of the beginning of my really holds some special memories."

Sandi Patty "Forever Grateful: The Farewell Tour" with special guests Veritas
Where: Christ Memorial Church, 595 Graafschap Rd. Holland
When: 7 p.m. Sun. Oct. 23
Tickets: At press time, tickets were sold out. For info visit For questions email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Author Information
Terry DeBoer
Author: Terry DeBoer
Terry is a journalist/feature writer for newspapers, magazines and websites, with a background in radio broadcasting. His usual beat is arts and entertainment, specializing in Christian/gospel music. A married father of two, he is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan Contributing Writer: West Michigan Christian News August 2011 – Present Feature writer: (website and various newspapers) 1988– 2016 -Spotlight New Christian Music Magazine 1997-2008 -Church News Editor, Church Herald Magazine 2004-2009

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