When I filmed a farewell CCM Magazine conversation with Sandi Patty this time last year, the dynamic songstress was in the throes of her encyclopedic 100-city Forever Grateful Tour—selling out venues coast-to-coast in a final musical hurrah to, as she expressed, “love the people well who have loved me and my family all these years.”
And though the reality of the beginning of the end had already hit home for the music veteran, Patty’s everyday realities—piling on busses, handshaking and hugging her way through meet-and-greets, and performing to packed-out concert halls and multiple standing ovations nightly—was still in full swing.
But when I caught up with Patty backstage at a west Texas concert date, just three nights before the tour’s final curtain call, the singer’s emotions were running high—and understandably so. Encoring an extraordinary forty-year tenure in American music is no small undertaking, and during this particular evening—onstage, offstage, and perhaps most apparently, among the audience—the feelings of finality was palpable. The stage was almost bare. And everyone knew it…including Patty.
As we talked, I discovered her decision to call it a wrap had little to do with checking her voice at the stage door. In fact, Patty will be the featured musical guest in a series of “Faith, Family and Freedom” patriotic concerts across the country later this month, and her Forever Grateful: Live from the Farewell Tour recording is hot off the press. But for the woman who has spent the better part of her lifetime baring her soul in song to the public, this final bow provides an open invitation for the influential legend to be present behind-the-scenes—with her expanding family, her local community and her hometown congregation in Oklahoma City.
This is not the last time you will ever hear from Patty, but this is the final CCM Magazine conversation in what has been an historic, and one of the most heartfelt tenures in gospel music ever. And so, one last time…Sandi Patty.
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