Connie picked me up at my house at 2 pm on Sunday afternoon and she drove us to Ft. Smith, AR. We found the Harvest Time church and ate dinner at Subway around 4 pm. When we got back to the church just before 5 pm, there were already cars in the parking lot and people lined up at the door! I put on my long coat for the wait in line, since it was cold and windy. We were able to go right into the church, so I changed my coat. We lined up at the left artist circle door, third in line. We ended up standing at the middle door, to get closer to the center. The doors opened before 6 pm and we sat in the second row center, next to Darlene, a delightful lady we met in line. We also met Cathy in line who had been attending Gaither concerts before David was even part of the Gaither Vocal Band. She remembers hearing David when he first joined the GVB! While we waited for the concert to start at 7 pm, I talked with Susan, Jenn, Bill & Debby who were working at David’s product table.
The concert started at 7 pm with a small church choir singing David’s Angel Lullaby. Then David started singing O Come, O Come Emmanuel A cappella, with the stage dark, and the choir backing him on the crescendo. David went right into an exciting version of The Singer (I noticed the reverb was set high for an echo) and then brought us to our feet to clap along with Hallelujah! Hark the Herald was next and then he welcomed us and greeted us with, “Merry Christmas!” The audience was very responsive. He said, “We’re going to have fun tonight! You’re a wonderful audience! If you keep that up, we’ll keep singing!” He talked about his four children and said he and Lori have been married for nearly 20 years now. He talked about being grateful, especially at this time of the year. He sang a beautiful version of Away in a Manger and then his One Wintry Night. Joy to the World was next, with David saying that he loved this! Sherri and Jack helped with the product promo. David introduced them and said they would sing some songs from the Family Band CD. He said that The Best of David Phelps was the best DVD/CD to get if you liked, “screaming high note, after screaming high note!” David joked about the Christmas with Jack Daniels CD. He told us we should buy it, since Jack’s neighbors would like him to get some mini blinds!
Jack played White Christmas on the piano and then Sherri, David and Jack sang Whit Christmas. Sherri & David sang the beautiful duet One King, which David had written. David got out his reading glasses to read the Christmas story from the Bible. Mary Did You Know was amazing! Scott Dente played guitar and David sat on a stool next to him, singing this song more beautifully than I have ever heard him sing this song! He changed some notes & it was just heavenly! Next was Ave Maria A cappella! WOW! Nessun Dorma received a standing ovation, of course! David sings this with excellence! The fifteen minute intermission was at 8 pm.
At 8:20 pm, Jack, David and Sherri sang Just a Little Talk with Jesus and Deliver Me with Kari; David’s other sister, playing the trumpet! We sang along to O Come All Ye Faithful with David playing the piano. David led us on The First Noel and Something About That Name. He said he wanted to hear our beautiful voices. He asked Sherri to start What Child is This and he joined her. Jack, Sherri, Kari and David sang an A cappella version of O Little Town of Bethlehem. David sat on a stool to sing The Christmas Song with Jack playing the piano on this and then I’ll Be Home for Christmas. David introduced Greg on drums, Danny on bass, Kari on trumpet, Scott on guitar and Aleta on violin. David played piano on All in All and Aleta played the intro on violin. We sang Silent Night with him and the choir came back to sing. He went into the incomparable O Holy Night as the last song with a standing ovation! The wonderful encore was He’s Alive – why we celebrate Christmas!
The concert was over by 9 pm. We headed to the product table and there was already a long line to see David in the ample lobby. Then we heard someone say, “There he is!!” and screaming! We turned around and saw David walking behind us! While we waited in line, I said hi to Jack & he came over to give me a hug & talk. Jack & his family have moved into their new house. We waited until almost everyone was gone to talk to David and get our pictures taken with him. As we stood in front of him waiting for our turn, David motioned us toward him. I gave David a pack of Orbit Winter mint gum, that he likes and also gave him a pack of the new XS Energy gum. I told him that he could try this, if he wanted. He looked at it and said, “Caffeine, I don’t know.” I told him it had B-vitamins and taurine in it too. I told him I loved Mary Did You Know tonight and how he changed it up. He thanked me & we also told him we loved Deliver Me. He said, “You’re so sweet! Isn’t it fun?” Later, Bill asked him if he would sing Santa Claus Tonight. He said he hadn’t sung that since 2008 and that he might surprise him. Debby asked him if he got any ? (A dessert that I think she made for the crew). He said no, but it was probably a good thing he didn’t, patting his stomach. Bill asked if his family would be in Waco. David said no, but his parents would be there. He said it was hard at this time of year, since all of his kids were in different plays. He saw Coby and Grant in their plays, but missed the girls. I mentioned video taping it and he said that’s what they did. He said Lori and the boys would probably be on the last leg of the tour, in Newbern, NC next weekend. As he walked away, I walked with him and told him that I was trying to lose weight so I could fit into a dress for the Caribbean cruise. He nodded that he understood. Just then a man walked up to him to talk, so we said goodbye and that we’d see him tomorrow night in OKC. David was very relaxed and happy to meet everyone tonight. He took his time with everyone and listened to everyone who wanted to talk with him. The concert was awesome, as always. We were shaking after all those high notes and spirit filled songs!
Pix at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruthdaniel