An estimated crowd of 800 heard a powerful and rousing performance from Contemporary Christian artist David Phelps at Hempstead Hall in Hope last Thursday night.

An estimated crowd of 800 heard a powerful and rousing performance from Contemporary Christian artist David Phelps at Hempstead Hall in Hope last Thursday night.
Opening the show on the piano, Phelps immediately brought energy and passion to his very first song, and he continued strong renditions from his catalog, belting out songs like Little White Church.
“Great to be here in Hope, Arkansas; this is like a homecoming for us. This a a great crowd and probably half-full of relatives,” Phelps joked in his first remarks after singing his opening numbers.
The other “star” of the show for the locals was Bodcaw’s Jack Daniels, whose showmanship and joking with Phelps on stage provided both a comedic edge and hometown humor.
Hempstead Hall Director Dolly Henley said later, “The crowd really responded to that; they liked the hometown family stories, and Jack and Phelps really played well off of each other with their story-telling.”
Interestingly, in a show themed as a Christmas performance, it wasn’t until his fifth song, when he did a blasting, upbeat and almost pop-infused version of “Joy to the World.”
Packing a five-piece band and backup vocal singers, Phelps easily had a full-throttled sound that engulfed Hempstead Hall that would rival any Las Vegas stage concert act. Not only were the usual instrumentations of guitars, drums and pianos present, but Phelps had a violinist and a trumpet player.
With his wide ranging and powerful vocals, Phelps by himself, proved he could have just as skillfully been a solo act as he effortlessly sang an extended range of songs, which sounded at times part country, part pop, and even part opera.
Later, in an original Christmas themed song, Phelps had about eight local kids join him on stage as he read from a book and sang about the Easter Bunny’s plan to take over Christmas.
The song, humorously sang and chanted by Phelps to country ballad background music, involved the Easter Bunny’s “list of demands” for assuming responsibility for Christmas to Santa Claus, who according to the song, had suffered a leg injury.
“There will be no fires in the fireplace, he has a flammable fur coat. No cookies on Santa plates, it must be carrot sticks and artichokes. Green decorations have to go; he just likes pinks and blue pastels. Replace the stockings and mistletoe with wicker baskets and cotton tails,” he said out to the laughter.  
So energetic and quick paced was the performance that the first half of it, which ran 90 minutes from opening at 7 p.m. to an 8:30 p.m. intermission, seemed like only just a few minutes; the second half ran one additional hour to 9:30 p.m.