David Phelps grew up listening to all kinds of music

David Phelps grew up thinking everyone had the same experience he did.

The tenor for the Gaither Vocal Band who performed in Wichita Friday night, said he always thought music was an important part of every family.

He may have been partially correct, but not everyone has a mother who is a classical soprano and a sister who had a great voice. His other sister plays classical trumpet in a symphony.

And not many people have the experience Phelps has. He has a vocal range that is almost unmatched and has won two Grammys and four Dove awards, and was nominated for Male Vocalist of the year in 2009.

He grew up listening to all kinds of music. Of course, there was classical music in his home. He also listened to bands like Journey and Queen. But thanks to his background of faith, Phelps began to spend a lot of time listening to contemporary Christian music as artists like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and Sandi Patti made the genre more popular.

“I fell in love with those great Christian singers,” Phelps said.

Phelps attended Baylor University in part because he was born into a Baylor family.

“My parents told me I could go to college anywhere I wanted to,” he said. “But they would pay for it if I went to Baylor.”

Phelps was bitten by the music bug after a city-wide talent show in Tomball, Tex.

“I remember singing at that show and when I finished, people gave me a standing ovation,” he said. “When I got in the car, I told my dad this is what I want to do.”

After graduating from Baylor, Phelps was working on a recording project when he was made award of an opening with the Gaither Vocal Band.

“I had tried to get Bill’s attention for a long time but never could,” he said. “I tried out and it snowballed into this.”

Phelps said it was a perfect match because he and Bill Gaither are kindred spirits when it comes to the art and communication of music.

“I have found that I can connect with people on that level,” Phelps said. “Music helps me convey an emotion to the audience and move them.”

Phelps has been touring with the Gaither Vocal Band, including Friday’s stop in Wichita. But this summer, he will tour smaller venues in the U.S. and even about a dozen cities in Europe.

With the Gaither Vocal Band, he is used to playing in arenas in front of thousands of people. His solo tour will be more intimate.

“I love the energy and excitement of the arenas,” Phelps said. “But playing smaller theaters and churches makes it a more intimate evening. For me, that is very rewarding.”

In addition to his many tour stops, everyone will be able to catch Phelps in action on PBS on July 26 as part of the station’s Artist Series.

Phelps knows that many people have aspired to the career he has had and he is thankful every day.

“I remind myself all the time how amazing it is to get to do what I love for a living,” Phelps said. “It is truly a gift from God.”