Chapman Draws Record Crowd To Balloon Glow

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    Steven Curtis Chapman
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    balloon glow
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    Hot air balloons dot the sky over the Baylor Sciences Building.
Sept. 19, 2004

by Sara D. Spain, Student Newswriter

Click here to see a photo feature of the balloons over Baylor and at Floyd Casey Stadium.

Watch Steven Curtis Chapman's Aug. 20 news conference at Baylor via streaming video on

The bleachers of Floyd Casey Stadium were overflowing Sept. 18, as more than 30,000 eager Baylor students, staff, Waco community members, and youth groups from around Texas gathered for the fourth annual Balloon Glow and Concert, sponsored by Baylor University, Curves International and 89.9 FM KBDE. This year's free concert featured Christian recording artist and now Baylor "Dad" Steven Curtis Chapman.

Student Body President Jeff Leach opened with a word of prayer, and Baylor graduate Dennis McDaniel sang his original arrangement of the National Anthem. McDaniel performed "The Star Spangled Banner" earlier this month at the Republican National Convention and made his mark as lead singer of Sign of Jonah, a well-known Waco-based band. Twelve-year-old singing sensation Spensha Baker, a Killeen resident and Star Search finalist, then received a standing ovation for her performance of "God Bless the USA."

Chapman's daughter Emily, a freshman at Baylor, and his mother, Judy, then introduced the Grammy Award-winning singer, Chapman, who said that the concert was a "chance to check up on my daughter during her freshman year in college."

"I am most excited about the people who put this event to lift up the name of Jesus Christ," Chapman said. "That is what's so exciting to me about tonight. We want to glorify Him with the music that we make."

Chapman dedicated his hit song "Fingerprints of God" to Emily, which he wrote for her when she was only 13.

"Baylor has always been a blessed place, but it became the best university in the world this fall when Emily Chapman came here," said Chapman.

Chapman also brought Shaohannah, his adopted daughter from China, to the stage. He spoke of the importance of adoption and his organization "Shaohannah's Hope," which helps families through the adoption process. Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, also have adopted two other daughters from China. They also have two sons, Caleb and Will Franklin, still at home.

During a break in the concert, the stadium lights were extinguished, and the hot air balloons that were spaced around the football field were inflated to full size. To the fascination of the crowd, all 10 of them were brilliantly lit and were choreographed to music and sign interpretation.

This year's theme for the Balloon Glow and Concert was "All Things New," which coincided with the release of Chapman's 14th album for Sparrow Records, "All Things New," on Sept. 21. Since 1987, Chapman has sold more than nine million records and recorded 41 No. 1 radio hits. He has received four consecutive GRAMMY awards, an American Music Award and 47 Dove Awards, more than any other artist to date.

The Balloon Glow and Concert also has featured contemporary Christian recording artists Michael W. Smith, Avalon, Point of Grace and Sonicflood.

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