TUPELO – Wintley Phipps has sung for U.S. presidents, delivered inspirational addresses in multiple countries and founded a nonprofit that ministers to children of prisoners.
On Monday night, he came to Tupelo to help raise money for CATCH Kids.
The award-winning baritone broke into a large smile several times during more than 90 minutes of singing and speaking at the Link Centre. About 100 were in attendance, although figures on exactly how many people attended or how much money was raised for CATCH Kids were not immediately available.
Phipps spoke about his life and the ways God used him to inspire and uplift others. He said his greatest lesson in life is to always “treat people, all people, with respect.”
He also sang eight songs, including “Amazing Grace,” a song he said he’s sung for prisoners and presidents.
“I think it was great,” said Louise Gambrel. “It was very inspiring and encouraging. It was just beautiful.”
The event ended with Phipps singing “We Shall Overcome.”
“What stuck out most for me is his statement that you have to respect everybody,” said Nikki Ivancic. “That is what we’re doing with Catch Kids is respecting these children and giving them access to health care, which we all deserve.”
Before Phipps’ performance, the North Pontotoc Elementary School choir also sang two songs. Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr. presented Phipps with a key to the city.
Phipps also spoke to students at Tupelo Middle School on Tuesday morning.
CATCH Kids provides medical and dental services to needy children. It currently works in Lee, Chickasaw and Pontotoc counties.
Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal