- review excerpts by Steve Barnes
following the Saturday, October 15 Forever Grateful - The Farewell Tour concert with Sandi Patty

"I feel that I have been called by God," top-selling Christian singer Sandi Patty told the crowd Saturday night at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, "but I work for you." Work she did, putting on two sets, each more than an hour long, of praise music, gospel and generally joyful noise as part of a yearlong farewell tour called "Forever Grateful."

The singer, now 60, has been in the public spotlight for more than 30 years, familiar to mainstream as well as Christian audiences since her version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was broadcast as part of the 1986 rededication of the Statue of Liberty. (Johnny Carson became a fan.) Known for her ebullient personality and lofty soprano, Patty, once the highest-paid Christian singer in the country, has recorded more than three dozen albums, won more than 20 Christian Music Association Dove Awards and produced multiple books, including a memoir/confessional, "Broken on the Back Row."

With (husband Don) Peslis, she has a blended family of eight children, now 20 to 32; three family ­ members are singing with her on tour, including Jonathan ("One of the twins," she said), who has bright, impassioned high tenor; daughter Aly; and daughterin-law Katie. Their deep love, of one another and of performing, is evident on stage. Referring to Jonathan, Patty said, "I know I'm his mom, but I'm also one of his fans."

Patty has cited her family, particularly her three grandchildren, as chief among her reasons for stepping back from a full-time music career. Given how good she still sounds, it seems inconceivable that she'll stop performing altogether. ... Patty knows how to use her full range to superlative effect, as she showed in the foot-stomping gospel of "Farther Along," the classic hymn "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee," the power ballad "Love Will Be Our Home" and one of her biggest hits, "Upon This Rock." Performing with a four-member band led by music director/pianist Jay Rouse, she also had fun with Liza Minelli's "Liza with a Z," rewritten in light of "the sad and frustrating dilemma of my nomenclature" to highlight Patty as "the girl with two first names."

Accompanying Patty on the tour is Veritas, a quintet of young men with excellent individual voices — "It's like having five Josh Grobans in one group," Patty joked — and a spectacular ensemble sound. If their version of "Hallelujah" (not the Leonard Cohen song) was goosebump-inducing, their setting of the Lord's Prayer, from their self-titled 2014 debut album, was truly glorious.

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