By Kirbi Cochran, Message Staff Writer
PINEVILLE — What better way to celebrate Louisiana College’s re-opening of the newly remodeled Guinn Auditorium than to have a concert featuring Big Daddy Weave and Brandon Heath, two of the top Christian musical artists in the country.
The auditorium’s renovation was made possible after the college made an insurance claim to GuideOne, an insurance company that works primarily with Christian colleges and churches, following a destructive hail storm in 2015.
Guinn was one of 18 buildings on campus that received interior and exterior improvements after GuideOne approved a claim for $18 million.
At a cost of $6.5 million, work on the 40-year-old facility was finished at the beginning of this school year after almost two years of work.
The centerpiece of the campus, Guinn not only received a new roof but also had its interior completely refurbished with a new ceiling, walls, tile, carpet, seats, sound system, HVAC, and an LED lighting system that is capable of illuminating the walls in a variety of colors.
While LC students got an early sneak peek by attending weekly chapel services as well as a rededication ceremony on Sept. 30, the public had to wait until the official grand opening to see the transformation on Oct.5.
And it was worth the wait.
Playing before a sold out crowd, the concert enabled LC to showcase its state of the art sound and lighting system along with the numerous other upgrades. The concert, though, went further because it also showcased God.
“Brandon Heath’s songs just came alive in worship” said Angela Dickson from Avoyelles Parish.
“Sometimes you come to concerts and it is just singing, but tonight’s concert was so much more … it turned into worship service in which God was glorified. I was very moved by it all,” said Jeff Walker from Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria.
Before the concert began, both bands devoted time to prepare the room for a rededication of a multi-use facility but also for a movement of God. To help set the tone and to focus on praising God for his blessings, the artists, their families and staffs began with a pre-concert Bible study.
They followed their Bible study by praying over all of the seats in the auditorium in preparation of hopefully seeing a movement of God amongst those who attended the concert.
As part of the concert, Mike Weaver, lead singer for Big Daddy Weave, shared his experience with World Visions, a missions’ organization that allows people to sponsor a child in an underdeveloped country or region. The band partners with the organization.
Weaver encouraged the audience to volunteer to sponsor a child.
“What he said about those children in other countries not having much at all really touched my heart. I could feel God telling me to go up and donate,” said Becky Dufour of Alexandria. “My son and I donated and it felt good to be able to sponsor a needy child.
“I don’t think it was something I would have done had I not come tonight,” said Dufour. “I came to hear these two great bands and see all the wonderful renovations. I leave having been touched by God and I leave having made a small difference in a child’s life. I am so glad I came.”
To end the concert, the bands gave an altar call which saw a number of people flow to the stage to kneel, to pray, to worship and to answer God’s call.
“It was an amazing moment,” said Paige Frost, a senior at Pineville High School and a member of Calvary Baptist Church. “I liked when he told the people to go in the front and devote themselves to Christ. You could feel God’s presence in the auditorium.”