Sandi Patty

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Sandi Patty
Patty in 2006
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 67)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
GenresContemporary Christian, inspirational
Occupation(s)Singer, author, pianist
Instrument(s)Voice, piano
Years active1978–present
LabelsMilk & Honey, Impact, Word, INO, Stylos

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.[2]


Early life[edit]

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. 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]

Singing career[edit]

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.

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 Billboard Christian Albums 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 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]


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 and 2021.

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 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 late 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.[13][14]

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, Oklahoma.

Personal life[edit]

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 eight grandchildren.[15]

Patty has supported charities such as Charity Music Inc.[16][17]



  • 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


  • 1993: Le Voyage
  • 1994: Merry Christmas, With Love
  • 1999: Sam's Rainbow
  • 2000: I've Just Seen Jesus
  • 2006: Broken on the Back Row
  • 2006: Life in the Blender: Blending Families, Lives and Relationships with Grace (Women of Faith)
  • 2006: A New Day: A Guided Journal
  • 2007: Falling Forward... into His Arms of Grace
  • 2008: Layers[18]
  • 2010: The Edge of the Divine[19]
  • 2018: "The Voice: Listening for God's Voice and Finding Your Own"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Category Nominated work Result
1984 Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group "More Than Wonderful" (with Larnelle Harris) Won
Best Gospel Performance, Female Christmas: The Gift Goes On (album) Nominated
1985 Songs from the Heart Nominated
1986 Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group "I've Just Seen Jesus" (with Larnelle Harris) Won
Best Gospel Performance, Female Hymns Just for You (album) Nominated
1987 Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group "They Say" (with Deniece Williams) Won
Best Gospel Performance, Female Morning Like This (album) Won
1989 "Almighty God" Nominated
1990 "Forever Friends" Nominated
1991 Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album Another Time...Another Place Won
1994 Le Voyage Nominated
1996 Find It On the Wings Nominated

GMA Dove Awards[edit]

Year Category Nominated work Result
1983 Inspirational Album Lift Up the Lord Won
1984 Inspirational Album More Than Wonderful Won
1985 Inspirational Album Songs from the Heart Won
1987 Inspirational Album Morning Like This Won
1988 Song of the Year "In the Name of the Lord" Won
1989 Inspirational Album Make His Praise Glorious Won
1989 Inspirational Song "In Heaven's Eyes" Won
1989 Instrumental Album A Symphony of Praise Won
1989 Choral Collection Sandi Patty Choral Praise Won
1990 Children's Album The Friendship Company Won
1991 Inspirational Album Another Time, Another Place Won
1991 Pop/Contemporary Song "Another Time, Another Place" Won
1992 Short-Form Music Video "Another Time, Another Place" Won
1992 Children's Album Open for Business (The Friendship Company) Won
1992 Inspirational Song "For All the World" Won
1994 Short-Form Music Video "Hand on My Shoulder" Won
1995 Female Vocalist Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated
1995 Inspirational Album Find It on the Wings Won
1996 Special Event Album My Utmost for His Highest (various artists) Won
1998 Special Event Album God with Us – A Celebration of Christmas Carols & Classics (various artists) Won
1998 Inspirational Album Artist of My Soul Won
1999 Long-Form Music Video My Utmost for His Highest (various artists) Won
1999 Spanish Language Album Libertad de Mas (tie) Won
2002 Long-Form Music Video All The Best...Live! Nominated
2004 Inspirational Album Take Hold of Christ Nominated
2005 Inspirational Album Hymns of Faith...Songs of Inspiration Nominated
2008 Female Vocalist Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated
2008 Inspirational Album Falling Forward Nominated
2009 Inspirational Album Songs for the Journey Nominated
2011 Inspirational Album The Edge of the Divine Won
2014 Inspirational Album Everlasting Nominated
2016 Children's Album Sweet Dreams Nominated


  1. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Sandi Patty will sing Hello Dolly!...". Playbill. October 19, 2011. Archived May 8, 2019, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Review of Yuletide Joy". Archived from the original on October 28, 2006.
  3. ^ MrClassicAds1970s (April 14, 2011), Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum commercial 1979, archived from the original on December 7, 2019, retrieved August 4, 2017{{citation}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Sandi Patty - Frequently Asked Questions". Archived from the original on May 13, 2007.
  5. ^ "Discogs Login". Archived from the original on December 20, 2020. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  6. ^ Don., Cusic (1988). Sandi Patti : the voice of gospel (1st ed.). New York: Doubleday. ISBN 9780385243537. OCLC 16900959.
  7. ^ Morgan, Timothy C. "Sandi Patty Stages Comeback". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  8. ^ Long, James. "The Art of Forgiveness". Todays Christian Music. Archived from the original on May 4, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  9. ^ Lind, Stephen J. "A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz" Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2015
  10. ^ Eric Reed. "The Long Road Home". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
  11. ^ Dan Wooding. "Second Chances". Archived from the original on June 14, 2008. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
  12. ^ Archived September 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved July 21, 2015
  13. ^ "Christian Singer Sandi Patty Opens Up About Retiring From Touring: 'It's Bittersweet'". Billboard. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  14. ^ Fitzharris, Dustin; York, ContributorJournalist in New (October 7, 2015). "Christian Music Legend Sandi Patty Says Thank You And Farewell". HuffPost. Retrieved January 20, 2021. {{cite web}}: |first2= has generic name (help)
  15. ^ Hunsberger, Maryann B. "The Road Home". Christianity Today International. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  16. ^ "Charity Music - Official Website". Archived from the original on November 23, 2020. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  17. ^ "Charity Music: Celebrity Supporters". Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  18. ^ "Sandi Patty - Written Works". Archived from the original on February 23, 2007.
  19. ^ "Sandi Patty To Release Companion Book And CD Projects 'The Edge of the Divine'". Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2013.

External links[edit]