David Phelps to perform at Bushwhacker Days

Saturday, March 22, 2014
David Phelps Submitted photo

The 50th annual Bushwhacker Days celebration is rapidly approaching and Lorrie Devine, entertainment coordinator for the 2014 Bushwhacker Days Committee recently announced that multiple Platinum artist and two-time Grammy Award winner David Phelps will be the headline performer for Wednesday, June 11, at 7 p.m.

Wednesday will also feature the opening ceremonies at 6 p.m., Legend of Our Flags, flag ceremony, Bushwhacker Cookout, Elaine's Ice Cream Social, and the People for Pets Dog Show.

Four-time Dove Award winner David Phelps has made a strong name in the gospel world. Phelps has just released a solo album "Classic," which includes 13 arias, classical anthems and newly arranged pop songs with original compositions that will both reflect upon a lifetime of achievement and exemplify his powerhouse tenor vocal prowess.

This recording is a special one to Phelps as not only a singer, songwriter, arranger and producer, but it is the recording that he has been training for all of his life. "I have always wanted to create great art over the course of my career. I am a student; I love to learn and I have gained so much along the path, from contemporary gospel to the Gaither Vocal Band to solo projects," Phelps explains. "I feel like this genre of music fits my vocal gifts, and I believe it is the next anchor point of my journey."

Phelps' first confirmation of doing such an album was on a very organic level. He began performing solo the renowned Puccini aria "Nessun Dorma," after revering Luciano Pavarotti's consummate recording since high school. "I didn't know how audiences would take it," Phelps admits. "To my surprise, night after night, they'd be on their feet before the song even finished. It was amazing. When it kept getting the same reaction, I realized something was happening here."

With this confirmation in hand Phelps went into the studio and worked with the iconic Bill Gaither and the two toiled over the song selection for more than a year. Starting from about 100 titles Phelps whittled it down to 13 powerful compositions and recorded it with a full choir and the Nashville Recording Orchestra. The album shows a very personal side to Phelps as it showcases several family members and the journey and struggles of the path of life while making this record. Both of Phelps' daughters, his sister, and mother lend to the vocals and professional trumpeting on the album. Phelps' faced a bittersweet moment with his sister, Sherri Proctor, who has toured with him for 15 years who accompanied him on vocals in "You'll Never Walk Alone." During this time she was fighting breast cancer and sadly, lost her battle late this summer. "It's the sweetest thing about this whole project for me, and inspired a lot of my emotion in the song," he says. "It's bittersweet and heartbreaking, but something I will cherish forever."

And now, with the release of "Classic,' Phelps is excited to share a side of his talent that audiences may not be aware of, while exposing them to what may be a new musical style for many. He says, "This certainly creates interest for me artistically, but I also hope to open a door for folks who either don't know or may have previously discarded classical music. If the album helps them discover this style and in the process elevates or moves them, I've probably done my job as an artist and a human being about as good as I can."

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