Sure, David Phelps had heard his voice reverberating off the walls of historic Carnegie Hall as well as the White House. But he also prefers smaller places to perform — far away from the bustle of big cities.
Smaller places like Joplin, for example.
For the second time in three years, this Christian music vocalist will be performing live in Joplin at 7:30 p.m. next Sunday, which is exactly 10 days before Christmas.
“We do all different sizes (of venues); every night is different,” Phelps said, with Joplin one of many stops on the ongoing “It Must Be Christmas” tour. “When we go into smaller venues, it makes it more intimate, you know? That’s something I love.”
Phelps first performed in Southwest Missouri during the inaugural “Curtains Up” concert series back on Dec. 17, 2017. He’s back again for the Connect2Culture sponsored concert series, again performing at the Joplin High School Performing Arts Center and singing some of the world’s most beloved Christmas ballads.
“When (December) hits, it’s Christmas all the time,” he said. During the holiday season, he continued, all non-seasonal sheet notes are quietly filed away. “We try to do all the Christmas songs that we hear all the time. We add (new songs) every year.”
Phelps is credited among today’s most spectacular voices, according to Emily Frankoski, Connect2Culture director. His vocal range, which extends more than three octaves, coupled with his gift with songs, has garnered him fans around the world.
And this year’s “It Must Be Christmas” will be entirely different from his “Classic Christmas” concert from two years ago.
“Same quality, powerhouse vocals, but different songs and arrangements,” Frankoski said. “These songs incorporate a nostalgic, jazz flair. His performance will also include renditions of classics like “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Go Tell It On the Mountain” and “Sleigh Bells” — along with Phelps’ new classics like “Fall On Your Knees,” “Christmas Rush” and “Anthem of the Lord.
“When you leave this performance, you will definitely be saying ‘it must be Christmas’,” she added.
Feedback from the multi-Dove and Grammy Award-winning singer’s first appearance in Joplin, Frankoski said, “was so positive, (had) so many patrons ask for David to return — they asked and we listened.”
Graduating from Baylor University with a degree in vocal performance, Phelps joined the award-winning Gaither Vocal Band. Phelps served as the group’s tenor for more than 15 years, helping secure nine Dove Awards and one Grammy, before pursuing a solo career in 2017.
The Joplin High School Choir will open the performance with a special holiday song.
Tickets: $50 Orchestra, $40 Mezzanine and Front Balcony, $30 Back Balcony. Discounted package tickets are available. Groups of 10+ receive a 20% discount. Tickets may be purchased at the Joplin Empire Market, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Saturday, by visiting connect2culture.org.
“We hope that those who were unable to attend in 2017 already have their tickets — (they) are selling fast,” Frankoski said. “Both the orchestra and mezzanine sections are full,” though seats are still available for the front and back balconies. “We full anticipate selling out before the day of the performance. Yes, he really is that good.”