The 168-foot steeple on Millbrook Baptist Church in Aiken dominates the landscape from more than a block away. The steeple is part of an $11 million expansion on the 20-acre campus.
The first service in the 2,200-seat sanctuary will be at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. A 130-voice choir will premiere His Church, by Niles Borop, of Nashville, Tenn., a prolific Christian songwriter and possibly the Millbrook youth choir's most famous Presbyterian alumnus.
In 2001, Mr. Borop returned to Millbrook to record a CD of some of his best-known work with the church's choir.
More than 30 years ago, he had been captivated by the new sound of contemporary Christian music. Even though he was Presbyterian, he joined the youth choir so he could travel with the singers.
An inaugural concert with Point of Grace and with Phillips, Craig and Dean, to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, was nearly sold out by Friday. Tickets are $15-20. Doors will open at 6 p.m.
The 90,000-square-foot building also has a reception area, a Communion room, a bride's room a music suite with rehearsal areas, a music library, choir-robing rooms and offices. Classrooms and administrative offices will be completed in phases.
The church wanted to pay tribute to the past with a traditional look, but it also wanted contemporary style, said Dr. Eddie Leopard, the senior pastor of the 3,000-member congregation.
About $900,000 was spent on the sound, video and lighting systems. OneSource Building Technologies, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., a company that does many of the systems for theaters in Branson, Mo., designed and installed the Millbrook systems, said the Rev. Steve Littlefield, the minister of music and worship.
The choir will be backed by a 30-piece orchestra, a concert grand piano and a digital Renaissance organ with four manuals.
The 80,000-watt sound system is synchronized so that people in the back of the church and those in the front will hear the same sound at the same time, said William "Bubba" Kitchings, who helps run the system for the music ministry.
"There is not a bad seat in the house," he said.
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