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Hillsong to take stage tonight

Sept. 30, 2003

By Jordan Parrilla, reporter

Hillsong Music Australia and worship leader Darlene Zchech, the contemporary Christian group whose popular hit 'Shout to the Lord' made its mark on the Billboard charts and had an impact on more than 35 countries, will perform at 7 p.m. today at the Ferrell Special Events Center. Admission is free.

Former Student Body President Ade Ifelayo sparked the idea for Hillsong Music to perform at Baylor last year, but scheduling with the group did not allow them to come. However, Gary Rhodes, worship pastor at Highland Baptist Church, said he thought God had his own plans in mind.

'Hillsong Music Australia's newest CD and tour is titled Hope, and with all that's been going on at Baylor - it just seems that this is God's perfect timing,' Rhodes said.

Hillsong Music Australia is the resource arm of Hillsong Church, a rapidly growing Church in Sydney, Australia. Hills Christian Life Centre, as it was formerly known, had its first service 1983 with a congregation of 45 people meeting in a high school hall. What once was a single-desk operation now consists of 12 full-time staff members. It's an operation that continues to try to keep up with the greater than ever demand for music resources all over the world.

Hillsongs, as it was originally called, recorded its first album in 1988 and since then has recorded 13 more albums.

Hillsong Music Australia has celebrated the achievement of 10 albums attaining gold status in Australia and 10 in New Zealand.

'All we've ever done is just have church,' said Brian Houston, Hillsong's senior pastor, on Hillsong's Web site. 'This is what God has anointed us to do. It's about reaching and influencing people. The worship is what it is because of the spirit of the church. The songs reflect the heart of the church.''

Waco is one of the three cities in Texas where the group will perform. Hillsong Music Australia has a worship team of 20, and along with that around 150 Highland Baptist Church members and other individuals will make up the choir.

'We've been adding a little aussie flavor to our rehearsals,' Rhodes said.

Ashleigh Nolen, a freshman from Perth, Australia, said that Hillsong Music is what her hometown church uses for worship.

'Hillsong Music Australia is an awesome collection of music that is very inspirational, encouraging and hits right in the center of worship,' Nolen said.

'It should be an enlightening and moving event that will impact the Baylor family, Waco and the surrounding area.'