Hillsong brings a night of worship music to UCF Arena
Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 17:11
The crowd in the UCF Arena was filled with excitement as Hillsong took the stage and in a matter of moments, thousands of voices were shouting one name: Jesus.
Last Saturday, crowds came from not only Orlando and bordering cities in Florida, but from as far as Brazil and Switzerland to see the Christian band perform.
"I love Hillsong, so it was my second time seeing them," said Ilyssa Perez, a UCF sophomore studying communication sciences and disorders.
Hillsong is known widely for their upbeat worship music. In keeping with their church worship service roots, they read Bible verses from which the songs were derived and challenged the audience in their spiritual journey between songs. Giant screens hanging on either side of the stage displayed lyrics, encouraging the audience to sing along with the band.
During the show, the masses were encouraged to get to know the people around them and even share a hug with a person nearby.
There were several differences in the Hillsong Live experience compared to other concerts, one example being their strong use of the accordion in the music. But the biggest difference was the unmistakable spiritual message. Moments after the band made their entrance, the stage went dark and in the brief moment of complete darkness, three words were shouted: "God is able." This is the name of the Hillsong Live tour and the message that resounded in their songs and words throughout the night.
Isaac Dean, who runs a Bible study in Melbourne, came with some friends for his first Hillsong concert.
"It was like a recharge for my faith," Dean said. "Our [Bible] study right now is about being a light to the world, so the song that had that [message] inside of it hit me right in the heart. Because that's what I want, is to be a light unto the world and it's really hard."
Their set list included songs spanning from all of their albums new and old. From the 1993 "Shout to the Lord" to their 2010 song "God is Able" with many other songs in between, such as "Hosanna," "Freedom is Here," "Beautiful Exchange," "Mighty to Save" and "Take it All."
While the floor trembled with the booming percussion and the lights in shades of blue, red, orange and white lit up the stage and made patterns on the Arena ceiling, the name of Jesus could be heard in not only the song lyrics, but in prayers. All around, the audience with hands raised in worship and voices lifted, stood together and sang lyrics of praise and surrender.
At the conclusion of one particular song, the band stepped away from their microphones and only the percussion kept the beat going, a few solitary voices in the crowd repeating the chorus. Slowly, more and more voices joined in until the few thousand people filling the Arena sang in unison with only the percussion, as the band looked on with surprised expressions and animated smiles on their faces. The enormous choir took over the show for a moment until, after exchanging looks and head nods, the band stepped back up and joined with the crowd for this humble offering of worship.
"My favorite thing was hearing everyone sing together," recent UCF graduate Sherrie Troche said. "It's so beautiful just to hear everyone come together and know the words. It sounds like angels singing to God, really."
It may not have been angels singing in the UCF Arena on Saturday night, but there was certainly a crowd of people gathered to not only share enjoyment for the music, but a shared purpose to grow in faith.
"Hillsong was amazing. They always bring their best for God, and God just shows up and does what he has to do in our hearts, so I am just really thankful for them to come to the UCF area," Troche said.